NYC Stories # 1: Specials

I've just read a post over on Café Mode about the new Marc Jacobs shop in Paris, mentioning his "Specials" range of weird and wonderful accessories at miniscule prices. Well, I went to New York a couple of weeks ago for a long weekend, and was staying round the corner from the dedicated Marc Jacobs Specials shop on Bleecker Street. Every time I tried to go there I was too early and it wasn't open yet, but on my last day, in fact my last hour, I decided to give it one last go, and boy was I glad I did!! The shop is tiny, and was pretty hectic, but they had some fab things. I bought a large version of a canvas bag I'd had my eye on for months (seen on the Internet, never in real life), this chunky turquoise and silver bracelet, and a t-shirt that's already had lots of good comments. 

It was a very successful end to an otherwise pretty much shopping-free weekend. It's strange, normally designer labels don't do anything for me (which is just as well, money-wise), but Marc Jacobs has some kind of magnetic pull, maybe it's a combination of the logo, the humour in his designs, the man himself.... and of course the fact that these particular items are very affordable is a huge bonus!


Rule Britannia

On Sunday, I finally got round to going through some old magazines and tearing out anything useful so that I could get rid of (recycle) the rest. A couple of the pages that caught my eye had Union Jack cushions on...

This one by Vivienne Westwood for The Rug Company

These ones on gorgeous leather chairs in the home of fashion designer Sara Berman

Well, I had an old cushion lying around waiting for a new cover, so I decided to make my very own Union Jack cushion, using some blue cotton, cream calico and a scrap of red silk that I already had. The silk immediately started to fray and even tear along the stitching, so I had to patch it up before I'd even finished, but I'm really happy with the result. It's delicate, so I'm not going to put it on our sofa to get trashed, but its looking just fine perched at the top of my bed. I will take a picture of it tonight and pop it on here for posterity!



Last Sunday I went to the Craft Council's Origin Craft Fair, at Somerset House. It was a lovely sunny afternoon, and Somerset House is such an elegant venue. I didn't stay for very long, but got quite inspired by some of the work I saw there. In fact, I dashed home to do some making of my own, and to finally stick a pile of cuttings into my new scrap book, but ended up going to the local pub quiz instead. My number one favourite was Samantha Bryan and her incredibly detailed fairy characters with their weird and wonderful accessories.

I love the knitted textures on these ceramics by Annette Bugansky, and the clever way they make a brittle, delicate material look cosy.

The fine line drawings on tea towels, laundry bags and other objets by Teresa Green are really simple and appealing.

And finally, I was very tempted by this suede bound notebook by Kim Robertson, with its hot and glamorous colours and graphic print reminiscent of Stella McCartney...


Patrick Heron

The last time I went to the Tate Modern, it was to see a Cy Twombly exhibition. It was a bit of a treat, as although I go there quite often (that stretch of the South Bank from Waterloo to London Bridge is one of my favourite parts of the city), I don't remember ever having paid to see a specific exhibition, because there's so much to see for free anyway. Well, my friend is now a member so we got to see the Cy Twombly for free, which was great. I love gallery shops, and almost always buy something - usually a couple of postcards or a notebook. This time though, the paintings we saw had made me feel quite inspired, and I ended up buying this book on Patrick Heron, who I'd heard of from the Tate St. Ives. When I picked it up I thought it'd be horribly expensive, as it's really big, and has loads of images, but it was quite reasonable and I thought it would be a lovely addition to my pretty much non-existent (non-fictionally) library, which it is except my bookshelves are too narrow so it just moves from surface to surface in my bedroom at the moment. 


Stocked Up

It's been nearly a year since I signed up for a shop on online emporium Etsy. Well, I've finally got my act together and stocked my shop, with eight of my beeb toys, and three in a new series of paintings that I've been working on. This is a very exciting day! Now I just need to get the word out to get some some people through the virtual door of aforementioned shop, and fingers crossed make some sales.... watch this space!!

I've also just added a link on the side of the blog that shows thumbnails of the items in my shop, and takes you straight there.


New Beebs

A few weeks ago I made a brand spanking new, updated, version 2.0 "beeb" soft toy (for my sister's Baby Shower). I was really happy with it, so made a pattern, and decided to make this collection of eight, which I've just finished.

I'm planning to put them on my etsy site, which I've had for an absolute age but haven't got round to making enough things to list and sell on there.

All I need to do is take some good photos of each of these toys and pop them in my very own internet shop. I've been spending some time on a currency converter website trying to figure out how many dollars to charge for them (as etsy is international but based in the US, so all transactions are done in $).
Ooh, perhaps once I've made my fortune in dollars I'll have the perfect excuse to go on a long weekend shopping trip in New York. Better get snapping (and sewing for that matter)!!

Wedding Hearts

A friend I've know my whole life is getting married this weekend, the first non-family wedding I've been to, in a little village in Dorset. I can't wait, particularly as I've been drafted in to make a long long string of bunting for the marquee that the ceremony is being held in. This is all done and packaged up (although I could see triangles when I closed by eyes for a while and thought my sewing machine might give up and die from the effort of stringing them all together), and will hopefully look appropriately festive when hung up tomorrow.

I've also made this "wedding heart" for the happy couple, a design I've made a couple of times recently for other people to give as gifts, each slightly different and of course personalised with the names. I hate the idea of buying something off a list - it seems so impersonal, or even donating to a honeymoon fund or similar just isn't really my thing, but hopefully they'll like this and hang it somewhere in the marital home!!


Baby Shower

One of my sisters will be having a baby imminently, which is extremely exciting and also a brilliant excuse for lots of us girls to get together for a good old-fashioned British Baby Shower, as seen in Sex and the City and Friends (hmmm maybe not quite so traditionally British but hey ho!). Rather than get overwhelmed and buy up half of baby Gap, I made a couple of presents for the baby's room - a mobile and this soft toy, which is a bit of a development of my "beeb" characters, but with a dedicated face area, which I've seen other people do in illustrations and which I think looks quite sweet and quirky. Now I want to make lots more, with my label sewn in, and put them on my as-yet-unused-but-ready-and-waiting Etsy page.


Shelf Life

I always forget how great Spitalfields market and Brick Lane are - or maybe not forget, just leave it too long between visits. Well, I went for a browse with my sister on Sunday, and even though the weather was a bit grey had such a nice and inspiring time wandering around the stalls and shops. It's incredible how much - and how quickly - the area has changed in the last few years. Some of it feels a bit shiny and new, but its still charming. We went to Cheshire Street, just off Brick Lane, a little street that I'd come across a couple of years ago accidentally and really liked, but never been back. It turned out to be the best thing of the day. Such lovely shops, all small and painted different stylish colours. Half of them were closed, but this one, Shelf, was an absolute joy, with just a very select range of homeware - bowls, russian dolls, prints, enamel letters, books, bags etc. etc.. They had Camilla Engman prints and Rob Ryan tiles. So many gorgeous - but understated - things we were a bit blown away!


Happy Campers

This is me and my friend Emily at Camp Bestival in Dorset last weekend. We were on our way to the comedy tent when we were snapped by one of the Sunday Times Style magazine special festival paparazzi. Its a pretty good memento to have of a brilliant weekend!


For The Love of Light

I can't remember when or where on the internet I first came across this limited edition book of polaroid photographs, but having read about the project a couple of times I swiftly placed an order, despite not knowing an awful lot about what I would be getting. I'm sure the fact that there are only 500 of the little things contributed to my strong desire to own one of them. Well, it arrived in the post last week, and although I haven't spent much time looking at it yet, it is very inspiring and had some really beautiful images in it. I'm starting to think I should stop spending my spare money on clothes and start looking out for more beautiful, lasting, satisfying things just like this. 



I was so ridiculously excited to see these little creatures I'd made a while back get their picture on the big screen (well, the internet). They're on sale in a tiny gallery in Cornwall owned by a friend, and every now and then we sell one, which is a disproportionate joy! They are - fairly unimaginatively - called Beebs, after my label, but it seems to suit them.

I also made these birds for the gallery, and gave one to a friend for her birthday a few months ago, and she loved it without knowing what on earth it was, until a few weeks ago when she told me how pleased she'd been with her 'half-moon cushion' (whatever that might be) and I had to tell her to turn it 90 degrees and look out for the eyes and wings!! Perhaps simple isn't always best.


Alicia Bock

I've just taken delivery of a gorgeous photographic print from Alicia Bock, bought from her Etsy store. It took quite a while to decide which to go for, having narrowed it down to the "Through the Viewfinder" series, which have such a great old-fashioned look to them. Finally I bit the bullet and went for this one, and it arrived so quickly and so well wrapped with a hand written note and a smaller print included, that now I'm just wondering when - and for whom - I can buy my next one! (I'm not sure what type of flowers these are, but I'm always drawn to them.)