Oh, woe is me. My IKEA Ektorp ‘Blekkinge White’ three-seater sofa is more like an Ektorp ‘Blekkinge Grubby Yellow’ three-seater these days with black cat hairs, muddy paw prints and red wine stains (!) to complete the overall effect of minging-ness. The practical solution of course, would be to buy a cover in a grey or a black – much more sensible – and I wouldn’t have to wash and iron the bloomin’ things every month. But Bemz has just created a range of loose-fit, linen shabby-chic style covers for the big IKEA ranges and I’m completely smitten with the white one…

These new pure linen covers are available for the Ektorp, Tomelilla and Nikkala sofa ranges as well as the Henriksdal dining chairs and, until Thursday, you can get 10% off all of them – which means I’m really tempted. My living room would look fantastic with a new, crisp, white linen sofa cover…for a few days, anyway! Have a lovely weekend. – Ellie

Pretty, pretty peonies

May 24, 2010

It’s Monday, it’s HOT, and my sexy new sandals have already given me a blister the size of a golf ball. How very GLAM. It’s too hot here to do anything really except sit back and drink in a load of lovely pictures – here are some to quench your thirst for loveliness…

This is a shot from Debbie Bliss‘s gorgeous new craft book, The Knitter’s Year (£18.99, Quadrille) – well worth a peep.

And here are some gorgeous pictures from Ideal Home‘s sister site, House to Home. Oh, to be gathering fresh peonies in the sunshine, today! Perhaps though, what with my blister and sunburnt nose and all, it’s just as well I’m not…sigh.

On a scale of one to ten, (one being not-at-all-excited, and ten being about-to-lit-er-ally-pop-with-excitement), how excited do you think I was when I spotted this stunning vintage Chinese Peony tea tin in an otherwise bleak junk shop at the weekend for less than a fiver? Erm, yes. Ten. Of course, then I had to treat myself to an actual peony at the florist’s – for important work-related styling purposes:

Our stunning new July issue has just appeared in the office and, appropriately, the cover is a lovely rich raspberry/peony pink – beautiful! Now, where’s that Elastoplast…– Ellie

Debenhams has all the cool kids these days – Henry Holland (tartan, tight trousers, Jedward hair – you know the one) is the latest fashion designer to join the Designers at Debenhams stable, and now Lisa Stickley and Matthew Williamson have signed up too. We brought you news about Lisa’s Debenhams range a while back, but until now the images of the new products were somewhat ‘limited’. So, let’s have a proper look…

This collection is called ‘Buttercup’ and features cute storage tins and a ceramic storage ‘house jar’ – the mind boggles! To give you some idea of pricing, the egg cups will be £3.50 each, a big cake tin will cost £12, and plates start at £5 each, so it’s all very reasonable. When I meet with Lisa to chat about the range, she tells me she had a lot of fun collaborating with the Debenhams team. “Normally, when I design, it’s just me, the wall and Radio Four!” she says, “So it was nice to work with a team and be a bit more sociable.” Her style is fast becoming ultra-popular with the Japanese (she now has a Japanese mailorder website) and she tells me she was amused to be asked to autograph Lisa Stickley handbags with permanent marker on a recent trip to Tokyo. “It was crazy!” she laughs. “People were coming up to me in the street – it felt really weird.” But she’ll have to get used to fame, and fast – her face will soon be plastered all over Debenhams stores up and down the country. Lisa doesn’t seem to have a spare moment to absorb this fact…she’s just finished her first book and is currently dashing around London viewing shops to find the right place to set up her new flagship store. “The book took me four months. I wrote it all myself, sewed every project, and did all of the illustrations so it was a real slog,” she confides, ” – but really exciting to see the final result. And the fresh print smells SO good,” she says, sniffing a page hungrily, then generously offering it to me. I sniff politely, and agree. Lisa has just gone up in my estimation – it’s always nice to meet a fellow book-sniffer. (Tap into the Zeitgeist, see our review of her book: Made at Home).

Lisa’s new ‘Myrtle’ and ‘Posie’ bed linen designs for Debenhams are really cute – and I especially like the ‘Text’ bedspread and cushions – covered in little whimsical words in true Lisa style: FRENCH BED, FUTON BED, SLEEPING BAG, BREAKFAST IN BED, BED SOCKS. Prices start at £20 for a pair of pillowcases, in case you’re wondering. During our chat, Lisa told me all about her own home and excitedly described the recent renovations her flat (above her Clapham shop) has undergone: “I’ve got these two lovely 1960s armchairs, which I inherited ages ago, and they’ve been upholstered in my fabrics, so I’m really pleased with those,” she says. “And I love my new kitchen. Especially my amazing black Baumatic retro fridge!” Lisa’s top tip is to  EDIT your belongings. “I gave a lot of stuff away to the charity shop and had a real clear out – and it makes such a difference.” 

This is the ‘Posie’ tea collection, complete with butter dish (£16) and a fabulous glass cupcake stand (£30). I like the shape of the tea pot and the 50s-style floral design. Before I leave, (the Debenhams party was in full swing and Four Poofs and a Piano had started to compete with us noise-wise), I ask Lisa where her new shop might be? “Well, I’m looking at Portobello Road and that area…” she reveals, “…but I also love Spitalfields, so we’ll have to wait and see.” Lisa smiles and I sense her ambition and energy. It’s such an exciting period for her, and she’s timed things perfectly; just when everything vintage, eclectic, and quirky is BIG, she hits the high street. Clever girl. These new products won’t be out until the early autumn, so you’ll have to wait to get your hands on those egg cups. In the meantime, dear readers, you’ll just have to visit her shop on Landor Road in Clapham, or pop along to her website to get the Lisa look. What do you think of this new collection? Let us know by commenting below. Have a lovely weekend 🙂 – Ellie

How happy I was when I stumbled upon Archivist Press, a little letterpress in Oxfordshire – check out the lovely cards they print…

They’re so beautiful, you could frame a group of them for classy (yet inexpensive!) wall art.

On a similar theme, let’s have a little look at the lovely nostalgic prints and cards from Cowboys and Custard

If you’re a type fan, check out Hand & Eye Letterpress, and see fabulous photos of their workshop here. Then, pop over to Sort Design for more font fun. – Ellie

The sun is shining, the Thames is sparkling and blue (HAH), the ice-cream van down by the Globe is playing SUMMERTIME at maximum volume and yet, in the office today, we’re already in the realms of November and I’m sourcing woolly socks. It’s a funny old world. ANYWAY, on a summery theme, here are some new shots from the very pretty Pale and Interesting, AKA, shop of Atlanta Bartlett, the lady who loves a bit of the old white paint:

This makes me wish my little hydrangea bush would hurry up and produce some flippin’ flowers so I can butcher them and stick them in Bonne Maman jars asap. Sigh.

If you’re loving the mercury glass votives in this shot, head to Dotcomgiftshop where you’ll find similar for £2.95 each. Then, pop to Cox and Cox for antique glass candlesticks. – Ellie

So, you’re after a roll of ultra-gorgeous, statement, quirky, unusual, on-trend, playful-yet-elegant wallpaper to brighten up that boring little alcove. You know the one. Where do you shop? Cole and Son? Pedlars, perhaps? My friends, the answer is much closer to home. Why, B&Q, of course. And at just £19.98 a roll, forget the alcove, baby – you can do the whole flippin’ room!

The contemporary toile design is called ‘La Vie Ordinaire’ and features city-chic scenes from London, Paris and New York, while the birdy paper with little patriotic robins is called ‘Birds of a Feather’. Reassuringly in-expensive! – Ellie

Our post about the wonderful Studio Nommo papers a few weeks back proved extremely popular and got picked up by loads of other lovely people on t’internet with exceedingly good taste, creating a veritable network of wallpaper addicts all around the globe. SO I thought we’d have another little wallpaper love sesh today…

These stunners are new designs from Netherlands-based Studio Ditte (famous for their Scrapwood design), stocked in the UK at Catkin Collection. This vintage plate one reminds me of that fabulous wrapping paper I picked up at Oliver Bonas a few weeks back – LOVE it.

Imagine this cute birdy paper in a child’s bedroom…you could even hang a few real bird boxes painted in bright colours on the opposite wall for a fun touch.

This Russian-style ribbons wallpaper is perfect for this year’s huge Folk revival. Such vibrant colours!

And let’s finish with a peek at another new Studio Ditte design – buttons…

So many papers in the world, and not enough alcoves. SIGH. – Ellie