NEW Louise Body fabrics

June 11, 2010

Good old Louise Body. Not content with making some of the prettiest wallpapers around (I featured the Garden Birds design in my BIRDY trend feature in the May issue of Ideal Home, and you can see the Harry’s Garden paper in action, looking lovely, in the hallway of Patchwork Harmony blogger Caroline), she’s now making fabrics, too. You’ll find a few fabrics on her website already, but a little birdy tells me that this September she’s going to release a whole new collection at Decorex, inspired by her ‘Plant Life‘ digital wall panels….

Louise’s inspiration is often drawn from her childhood memories – the lengths of lace given to her by her maternal grandmother were incorporated into Marney’s Lace, while the ferns and wildflowers pressed by her paternal grandmother inspired Autumn Woods and Flower Press. Louise says her new collection stems from a beautiful Victorian greenhouse in the grounds of a shabby-chic house where she spent many holidays as a child, while the palette is reminiscent of the colours found in retro 1960s interiors magazines she inherited.

I can’t wait to see the full collection in the autumn – cushion-makers, go forth and celebrate this great day! – Ellie

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I’ve just got back from Most Curious, Sanderson’s 150th birthday tea party in Marylebone Lane’s coolest shoe shop, Tracey Neuls. To mark Sanderson’s 150th birthday, Tracey has covered elegant shoes with vintage fabrics from the Sanderson archive including a quirky 19th Century squirrel design while designer Nina Saunders has created a fabulous ‘melting’ armchair installation upholstered in a beautiful blue rose Sanderson fabric from the 1950s.

The venue was decked out with an indoor silver birch forest, which was all very trendy, and woodland-chic, and all that jazz. I chatted to Nina about her amazing upholstery, and she told me that she bought the armchair on eBay for very little, then manipulated and bent the arms to create the strange flowing look. Her expert upholsterers somehow managed to cover the foam shape she carved for the base without any bumps, lumps or pleats in the fabric – incredible when you think how many creases/pleats/GENERAL ISSUES we have on photo shoots when we’re covering foot-stools or head-boards! (Thankfully PhotoShop takes care of most of them, tee hee).

Perhaps I should attempt to explain the little squirrel perched inside the squirrel shoes here…Nina Saunders is really into taxidermy (which you can see from her online portfolio…check out the fox-heads-on-the-sofa-styling…hmmmmm, no comment), so there were various little critters scattered around the installation. Including this hilarious parrot, face-down inside a beautiful emerald shoe. Curiouser and curiouser…

No self-respecting stuffed parakeet would want to get this close to my odour-eaters, that’s for sure. – Ellie

Get your crafting hat on, because today we’re looking at a new book due to be released by the V&A next month to celebrate the Quilts 1700-2010 exhibition. Author Sue Prichard is Curator of Contemporary Textiles at the V&A, and has put together a handy little guide with some simple projects to get you started if you’re a patchwork virgin.

The book starts with a brief history of patchwork in Britain, followed by a useful list of all the bits and bobs you’ll need to get started on your own patchwork creations. The projects are straightforward with simple step-by-step instructions and handy templates at the back – choose to make a lovely hexagon patchwork pincushion, a square patchwork cushion cover, an appliqué (Mwah ha ha, WordPress, I have finally worked out how to get an accent!) cushion, or a cot coverlet.

Here are some pics from the book – hexagonal ceramic tiles that echo patchwork patterns, and vintage Liberty & Co printed cotton fabrics. I like the little snippets of history throughout this craft book. Prichard has found references to patchwork in Jane Austen’s letters, old editions of Sylvia’s Home Journal, and in various works of literature, and has sprinkled these fascinating and sometimes amusing quotations throughout the book which makes it a really interesting read. There are also photographs of various patchwork items from the past which we will no doubt see in the exhibition when it opens.

This is a great little book and brilliantly written, but some of the photography is a bit low-budget – don’t expect a visual feast. However, it only costs £7.99, and it’s inspired me to FINALLY make a patchwork quilt, so I’m sold! Sue Prichard has written another book to accompany the exhibition called Quilts – hidden histories, untold stories so I’ll be keeping my eye out for that too. – Ellie


Harlequin‘s new wallpaper and fabric collections are OUT, and they’re absolutely GORGEOUS. The first range is called Bakari – inspired by ‘the organic textures and physical elements of the natural world’.

Picture 3Picture 4It’s a tranquil collection featuring soft willow patterns, leaf designs, cow parsley, seed pods and stunning shell-like, wave shapes. I really like the ‘Willow Sheer’ best – it’s so pretty as a delicate panel.

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Picture 5The other new range, called Lalika, is a collection of rich, opulent, exotic designs, inspired by Persian and Indian textiles and architecture.

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I really like the paisley-meets-fretwork ‘Azara’ design (shown as a throw on the pink bed above) – striking as a fabric or a wallpaper. The ‘Susa’ wallpaper below is another highlight – and all the patterns in the collection work so well together, without being overpowering.

Picture 10It might be raining, grey, and Monday, but I have several reasons to be happy. Firstly, these lovely new Harlequin images have cheered me. Secondly, my ‘with love from ellie x‘ name tape, which I was obsessing about last week, has arrived in the post, which is VERY exciting for a crafting geek like me. Thirdly, on a similar crafting geek note, I have just been given a lovely vintage date stamp, like librarians use – perfect for letters and cards etc. And lastly, the boyfriend has just revealed he’s kindly buying me the silver Moroccan pouffe I’ve had my eye on for months for my birthday. It’s the same as the one in Graham and Green but he found it cheaper elsewhere, tee hee. I’m also very excited because I’ve just been invited to the launch party  (happening next week) of the new Hobbycraft magazine – let the craft revolution continue! I’ll give you all the gossip after the event, but for now, it’s back to work I go, I O, I O. – Ellie

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Bow down to Charlene Mullen

September 30, 2009

Making her debut at 100%Design last week, Charlotte Mullen is a textile designer who’s going places. Her unusual hand and machine embroidery cushions and accessories are inspired by…deep breath…Elizabethan blackwork embroidery, English lace, Eastern European textiles and urban landscapes…in Charlene’s own words: “from Victorian Christening gowns to prison tattoos – nothing is taboo.”

charlene mullen2Her eclectic range of influences means that she achieves her goal to create modern designs within a historical context – and many of her pieces have an intricacy that can only be achieved by the human hand, making them extra lovely.

charlene mullenI like the fact that Charlene doesn’t take herself too seriously – from the little UFO flying above St Paul’s to her quirky ‘Boy with a Coif’ cushion, there are touches of humour everywhere – her designs are tactile, elegant, but human. Her website features some of her lovely work, and I think it’s a great example of how a website can work when it’s designed well – it’s really beautiful.

charlene mullen3Charlene’s little red and white name tapes were sewn to her press releases at 100%Design and looked so cute. Bethan in the office has just found a fabulous website – GB Name Tapeswhere you can buy 144 name tapes for £5.85 – so I’ve ordered some “with love from ellie x ones to prettify presents, jars of home-made jam and generally anything that sits still long enough for me to slap a pretty name tape on it. As Bethan said, just think of the Crafting Potential (CP) – the possibilities are endless! Tragically, I’m almost as excited about these name tapes as I was when we discovered the amazing free butterfly and insects online image library – ah, happy days. – Ellie

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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.

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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

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A new nautical interiors company launches today, and we love it! Runaway Coast is full of homeware and textiles inspired by the sea. Feast your eyes on these lovely images – they’ve put me in a really summery mood, despite the grey London scene outside our office window!

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Dainty buds bedroom

Check out the cute nautical fabrics at Runaway Coast, too. I like the patterned pebbles design best – it would be lovely as a tablecloth.

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If you’re a fan of nautical style, check out Ian Mankin for striped fabrics, Deckchair Stripes for deckchairs and hammocks, Garden Trading for accessories, and The Beach Hut Company for everything from bunting to fishing nets. – Ellie