Ideal Home needs YOU!

June 30, 2009

I’m always looking for clever decorating or home-related tips and tricks from our readers – and I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that as an interiors-obsessed reader of HomeShoppingSpy, you might have a trick or two up your sleeve that you could share with other Ideal Home readers. We’ll give out fab prizes for the best tips and publish them in the magazine, too, so don’t delay!

ideal home address

If you’ve got a handy home-related hint – whether it’s to do with painting, wallpapering, interior design, mood-boarding, cleaning, sewing, styling or anything else – please email it to or post it to the address above. Remember to include your full name, postal address and mobile number in your email or letter, so we can contact you if you’re a winner. – Ellie

Looking for quirky vintage-style fabrics to make cushions or clothing? Head to Fabric Rehab, my website of the week! There are Fifities-style patterns, Matryoshka Russian doll prints, and funky geometrics – perfect for craft projects.



I’ve fallen for the washing line print in a big way, and the little Matryoshka trimming tape is so lovely – perfect for tying round parcels wrapped in brown paper. I’ve got my eye on the apple design, too – it’s bang on trend. – Ellie


Sewing queen Amy Butler has been selling her gorgeous patterns and fabrics in the USA and online for a while, but exciting news for Brits today – Rowan is going to stock Amy‘s new collection. Check it out:






These lovely fabrics and patterns are due to hit UK Rowan stockists soon, but if you can’t wait, click here to download a free patchwork quilt pattern designed by Amy Butler. – Ellie


For Bethan

Last year, we all cooed and drooled over the beautiful Recycled Home book from Mark and Sally Bailey at Baileys Home and Garden. I love the pared-down, simple, rustic look of the Baileys’ lovely home…so I was really excited to hear about the launch of their new book, which is due out on 8 October.

TRC184-12-08 JKT 175L CTP:BLAD

Called ‘Simple Home‘, it’ll be £19.99 (Ryland Peters Small) – it’s about choosing items for your home with care and thought – in tune with today’s desire to reject the feverish consumerism of recent years and buy well-made items that last. My review copy has not arrived yet, so here’s a sneak preview from the PR: The book opens with ‘The Philosophy of the Simple Home’. Rescue, repair, reuse and rethink are the guiding principles behind the Baileys design ethos. Chapters cover all aspects of creating comfortable living in a carefully considered space – colours are calm and inspired by nature; shapes are organic and fuss-free, meaning versatile designs that go with everything; materials are reclaimed or recycled, and ethically sourced; craft embraces the artisan’s skill and the pleasure of owning items that will stand the test of time. There’s a ‘Natural Cleaning’ chapter with tips for using old-fashioned materials, and a section called ‘Curating Your Home’, which looks at arranging your cherished collections in different ways: your display space becomes a personal museum, full of things you love.

Picture 11

It sounds fabulous – I can’t wait to see it! I’ll review it properly asap. – Ellie

I’ve just discovered an amazing website: Crafty Shapes. It sells plain, unfinished wooden shapes ready to paint, varnish, embellish etc – and it’s opened up a whole world of crafting possibilities! I’m going to get the wooden napkin rings (just £1.95 for four), then paint them with blackboard paint (£10.99 for 750ml, International Paints) and use them instead of place cards or to add quirky messages to table settings.


Napkin rings, Colloco, but now discontinued, so get crafting! Image: Living Etc

I am so excited about this. Maybe I need to get out more!? These blackboard napkin rings would be great for handmade gifts too – you could put six in a little box with a pack of retro chalk (95p for 12 sticks, Dotcomgiftshop) for a cheap and designer-style present – or make loads for wedding place markers/favours. Craft JOY! – Ellie

Today I’m loving these Fifties-print tea towels from New House Textiles. Designed by Louise Fougstedt and Brit Bredström in the 1950s, these are cute enough to frame or sew into cushion covers. In Sweden, guests often bring a tea towel to a dinner party as a long-lasting gift for the host. What a good idea – I’d like my guests to bring me a lovely tea towel…and preferably use it after dinner too!


tea towels

I’ve just had a quick scout about the New House Textiles website, on the hunt for a pretty serving tray for the November issue of Ideal Home…and look what delights I found there! So many gorgeous prints and patterns.





I think this red fox tablecloth is stunning – looks so cute with Ercol chairs too. SIGH! – Ellie

I love the quirky British character of Emma Bridgewater‘s pottery, and my expectations are always high whenever she brings out a new collection. Having just had a sneaky peep at the lovely autumn/winter catalogue out later this year, I wasn’t disappointed.

Speckled Hen Egg Cup_ _7_95 - Emma BridgewaterHighlights include cute speckled hen egg cups, some lovely larder shots showing the new National Gardens Scheme charity mugs, and the now-notorious-headstand-teapot move – think break-dancing, but in an English kitchen with expensive china…

Union Jack 4 Cup Teapot_ _49_95 - Emma Bridgewater

Union Jack Rectangular Tin_ _8 and Tray_ _5 - Emma BridgewaterThere’s something strangely sinister about this cockerel door-stop – he has too much character for a bird without eyes, or legs…

Union Jack Chicken Door Stop_ _

Emma Bridgewater factory

National Garden Scheme Selection_ from _15_95 - Emma Bridgewater

National Garden Scheme Se of 3 Mini Mug Candles_ _30 - Emma Bridgewater

Even the factory is pretty! The little holly candle mug above would make a gorgeous Christmas gift. (I know it’s bonkers to say that in June, but in the mad land of Ideal Home magazine, we’re already feeling festive!) Now then, pass me that teapot, it can’t be that hard. – Ellie

These lovely hand-painted 1930s signs from Pedlars caught my eye today. They look great arranged in a group like this in black and white frames.



If you love the look of these signs but can’t quite stretch to £125 a pop, check out the lovely vintage-style signs at Dotcomgiftshop. They might not be the real thing, but they’re much more affordable. – Ellie

This new ‘Bamboo Papers’ wallpaper from Farrow & Ball is everything we’d expect from one of the world’s finest manufacturers of paint and paper. It’s beautiful, oriental, chic and delicate. Block-printed, it shimmers with metallic paint and oozes sophistication – and it’s rather expensive, at £62 a roll. But there’s something I just can’t ignore…

007 farrowball

I’m sure I’ve seen this pattern somewhere before. According to the lovely people at Farrow & Ball, the Bamboo Papers are inspired by an iconic 19th century Japanese print, featuring bamboo as a symbol of good fortune. But I’m not so sure. Think back, all ye wise interior design experts, to the Peckham flat belonging to Del Boy Trotter in TV sitcom, Only Fools and Horses. It’s a gallimaufry of retro patterns and sickly seventies colours, and with the plastic pineapple ice cube bucket and red pub-style carpet, it’s about as far away from Farrow & Ball style-wise as it’s possible to get – but look to the left feature wall. Case closed. – Ellie


We have a treat for you today, to brighten up your Monday! These three lovely retro slogan posters are featured in our new August issue, and the best thing is…they’re free to download here from the Ideal Home website. Hurrah!

free posters

The August issue is packed with lovely coastal makes from our style team…check out the tablecloth project below – it’s made of four tea towels sewn together. Simple, cheap and chic!


I love these nautical plates made using transfer paper from Lazertran. This is a great way to display your favourite photos in an original way.


And how sweet are these little painted pebbles and shells? I think these would make fabulous wedding favours or place markers at a dinner party.


If you’re feeling inspired and you’d like the full instructions for all these projects, see the new August issue of Ideal Home. – Ellie