Do I need another tea towel?

February 23, 2010

No, friends, of course I do not. I made a resolution in the dim and distant past (January) never to buy another. EVER. But there are so many gorgeous new ones on To Dry For…’tis hard to resist. The nation’s textile designers are screen-printing away up and down the country, trying to tempt me to stray…naughty people like Warbeck and Cox

…with their lovely beetles, keys and vintage irons. And then there’s Gillian Kyle, with her spam, teacakes and Scottish breakfasts…

…and Snowden Flood isn’t helping much either, with cute caravans and dreamy beach huts…

…and those cheeky little monkeys at Thornback and Peel are just making things worse with their sardines, their strawberries and their general bloomin’ deliciousness.

Sigh. What’s a girl to do? (Answer: stop fantasising about kitchen textiles and get a life, probablement…) – Ellie

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THREE tea towel projects

September 4, 2009

We were chatting in the office the other day about the two types of tea towel in the world. (Oh dear.) The first kind is the manky, tea-stained, torn, faded, bought-in-IKEA-a-million-years-ago kind – the sort you use for drying up, washing the cat, wiping up mud, milk, sick etc. The second kind is the ‘decorative’ type – the colourful, stylish, gorgeous, never-used, never-washed, beautifully-made designer tea towel – possibly from the likes of Jme, To Dry For, or Cath Kidston – which is displayed at all times and is there to be admired. It is ironed. Cared for. Loved. Sometimes it is moved from one hook to another, but it is never, ever, EVER used. And woe betide any poor soul who attempts to use it.

an apple a dayIn my house, the concept of a purely ornamental tea towel is lost on certain folk – namely, the boyfriend, my visiting mother, and the naughty cats – so keeping a lovely tea towel in pristine condition is something of a challenge. That’s why the crafty tea towel makes from the October issue of Ideal Home magazine are so cool – by turning your favourite tea towel into wall art, a knitting needle case, or a cushion, you can preserve it much more easily. This ‘An Apple A Day’ one looks fab in a simple IKEA Ribba frame, while polka dot tea towels from Dotcomgiftshop make fantastic knitting needle holders.

knitting-needle-holderI like these cushions made from pretty tea towels bought at John Lewis. This idea would work well with Penguin Classics book cover tea towels, or vintage tea towels from holiday resorts, too.

tea-towel-cushionsIt’s the weekend, and I’m excited because Bethan and I are treating ourselves to a Eurostar day trip to Lille in France for La Braderie, Europe’s biggest flea market. We’re going to do some serious bargain-hunting, and we’ll take lots of photos and write a nice big post all about it on Monday. Just before I sign off, check out this gorgeous photo of Lisa Stickley‘s scrapbook:

lisa stickley scrapbookI always think that blogging is a bit like having an online scrapbook – but there’s nothing quite like the real thing. More on scrapbooking next week! Have a lovely weekend. – Ellie

TOP DRAWER news round up

January 18, 2011

Yesterday, I wore flat pumps, stashed some Evian in my bag and ‘did’ Top Drawer. The wheat has been separated from the chaff. Here’s the news you need to know: New cushions from Barbara Coupe with a nautical feel…

Natural History launched a new hummingbird range including cushions, notebooks and pretty tissue paper…

Neisha Crosland has teamed up with Make International to launch a new range of geometric tableware…

…Rebecca Winter of Raw Xclusive fame (you’ll recognise her Louis chairchandelier and DADDY RULES designs from Rockett St George and others) has launched a new spoons design…

…Two’s Company by Mulhouse had the coolest stand by far – an apothecary shop papered with pages from old books and filled with butterflies and bell jars – and launched some extremely cute numbered napkin rings and storage pots. Sadly, it’s wholesale only, so I need to find a stockist sharpish for these pots…

…Latvian ceramic artist Aiga Siceva-Sattler (who has recently started selling some of her work online via Notonthehighstreet) showed me her new tableware collection decorated with her trademark black silhouettes. I like the new bowl featuring a hunter and pheasants…

Michelle Mason showed me the new version of her cute Columbia Road flower market cushion…

Prey (you’ll recognise their 1950s-inspired accessories – they’re stocked by Caravan but you can buy direct, too) were showing their new 1950s-style tins and textiles…

…the lovely Lush Designs launched a fabulous new lampshade design called ‘Stag’, featuring pheasants, a viaduct and some very dozy dogs…

…Embroidery legend Jan Constantine was showing her new licensed London 2012 Olympics range…

…and, although I admired these at Tent, I couldn’t resist another peep at the new Ary Trays collections featuring Michael Angove‘s spoon, feather and egg designs…

…and more lovely trays…Tana Lawn fabric ones from Liberty, fishy Scandinavian ones from Alabasta, and London-themed trays from Anna Viktorsson

…cute button artwork from new company Hello Geronimo

…new stationery from Showpony

…and lastly, some very cool pool ball lighting from the 95% Danish stand…

…lots of exciting new designs to feel inspired by! – Ellie

Ooh, we do like a nice tea towel here at HomeShoppingSpy, as no doubt you’ve noticed by now. When I saw these lovely new designs from Charlotte Farmer on the New House Textiles site, I practically fell off my chair. Just when I think I’ve got all the tea towels I’ll need for my important-ongoing-and-possibly-never-to-be-completed-turning-tea-towels-into-cushion-covers-project (so far, I have a Lisa Stickley one, a Warbeck and Cox one and a Thornback and Peel one…) along comes another little gem for me to obsess over, Gollum-style. These are all lovely, but the spoons design is my preciousssssss:

I also really like the biscuit bags Charlotte makes (also stocked at  New House Textiles) – have a peep:

If you like these tea towels, check out some of our previous tea towel posts. This one‘s a cracker. Oh, how we chuckled when we wrote this one. But, if you don’t look at this one, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll regret it forever. – Ellie