For all you letterpress lovers out there, here’s a little Friday afternoon treat. Clerk Ink Well (based in, yep, you guessed it – Clerkenwell. Clever!) are Huw Griffith and Tessa Nicholson and they have a lovely 19th century Wharfedale letterpress. Huw is arty and Tessa likes words and so together they have come up with a few posters with fun slogans…

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Clerk Ink Well, Eat Your Greens, stationery, letterpress, letterpress print, poster, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Each print is hand-cranked through their letterpress and look at their lovely fruit wood printing blocks…such joy…

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Tee hee! I like this one…

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Clerk Ink Well, Eat Your Greens, stationery, letterpress, letterpress print, poster, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

They use the finest handmade paper and hand mixed vegetable based inks. Prices start from £45 (unframed) and are available to buy from the Clerk Ink Well website. Bon weekend all et bon nuit (je suis suffering somewhat from post-editorial awards fatigue). Sigh. – Alice

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Gabrielle is a designer who lives with her husband and little dog in a rural cottage in Surrey. She makes cards, cute notebooks and plantable bunting (!) amongst other things. Her business is called The Green Gables. She only uses FSC certified paper, works with local printers and suppliers, uses recycled packaging and all orders are shipped from her local village Post Office. Her cheery post card designs landed in my inbox this week and I love the simple illustrations that feature some of my favourite vintage objects…
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They’re a mere £3.50 for a mixed set of 6 and if you don’t feel like giving them away then why not use as a mini piece of wall art? Lovely. – Alice

On the 1st day of Christmas…

November 26, 2011

Ok, it’s almost countdown to Christmas time! Alas, I always feel a little disheartened when I see the shops stocked with tacky, commercial Advent calendars with synthetic pressed chocolates, that taste like plastic. Who buys those?

So, i’ve scoured around to seek out a few creative alternatives that I like and wanted to share with you. And they’re calorie free. Justification #327 for eating lots on Christmas day.

First up: The eco-friendly stationary people, Lollipop Designs. Create your own poster with this graphic Advent calendar and sticker sheet, a different sticker for each day. Why not?

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And I love this idea from The Spotted Sparrow at notonthehighstreet.com. 24 pre-dated blank library cards that you can customise with a suggested festive activity for each day (eat a mince pie, adopt a reindeer, practice Auld Lang Syne, take your hands OUT of the Quality Street tin…). They sit in cute brown paper pockets and come with bakers twine and wooden pegs to hang garland-stylee over a mantlepiece or banister. Ooh er!

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Next up: The lovely Bodie and Fou. Ok, so this idea is slightly more aimed at kids but I wouldn’t say no to a cube a day filled with ‘toys’ and other small but useful things! It’s a bit more pricey at £35.50 but it can be re-used year after year. (please note: toys not included. The idea is you get creative and fill it yourself).

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And lastly, but by no means least is a charming DIY Advent calendar from the creative genius that is Lucy Jane Batchelor. It comes with 25 dated illustrated stickers to create your own wintry scene. Such lovely retro colours. Jolly delightful! – Alice

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Lucy Jane Batchelor, Advent calendar scene, Christmas, advent calendar, craft, devon, ideal home, homeshoppingspy

SO! I’m sure you’re all aware but Christmas is less than 6 weeks away. 6 WEEKS, I cry! To make things easier in the madness of London life (we must do what we can) I have vowed to buy all my shopping on-line this year. Everything. Including decorations and suchlike, which is why I’m most excited to discover that The Original Pop-Up Shop have gone on-line. Ding dong! Two years ago the lovely interior stylist, Louise Rastall and her mum, Carol, decided to transform their family run ice-cream parlour in Newark into a little festive pop-up shop, chock full of handcrafted Christmas delights. Think Cox and Cox crossed with Papermash

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Their natural, Scandi-style decorations include porcelain keys and handmade crochet snow flakes. Their ribbons and patterned tape work really well with brown paper wrap and how cute is this felt acorn garland!?

handcrafted, Christmas decorations, garland, Scandi, rustic decorations, country styleThe traditional wrap packs are perfect for homemade mince pies which include Kraft bags, bakers twine, vintage style paper doilies plus hand stamped tags..(you just have to make something tasty to go inside)

kraft bag, bakers twine, mince pies, Christmas ideas, Christmas, pop-up shop, Ideal Home, The Original pop-up shop, doilie, handmadeand last but by no means least are these folky style cards from boutique stationers, Rifle Paper and Co. Scrum!

The Original Christmas Pop-Up Shop, Christmas, online, boutique stationery, folkTra-la-la-la-laaaa-lala-la-la. – Alice

GOODBYE and HELLO!

November 8, 2011

Well, folks, the time has come for me to say goodbye. I’ve loved blogging for Ideal Home’s HomeShoppingSpy, but I’m off to pastures new. I leave you in the very capable hands of the lovely new HomeShoppingSpy, Alice Humphrys – Deputy Interiors Editor at Ideal Home and a shopping expert! She’ll be keeping you up-to-date on all the latest buys and trends. Thank you all so much for your support, comments and tweets these past few years – it’s been an absolute pleasure to spy for you! – Ellie Tennant x

Letter press hello card | present and correct | bespoke stationery | unusual stationery | homeshoppingspy | alice humphrys

Hello! I’m Alice, your new HomeShoppingSpy blogger and I can’t wait to get started; especially at this time of year when the joys of Autumn are in full swing, festive fever is breaking out and here at Ideal Home HQ we’re previewing and planning for SS12. I feel giddy with the delightful, seasonal mix! Looking forward to blogging, spying and marvelling with you over all things lovely for the home. Oh and the letterpress ‘Hello’ card was brought to you by one of my favourite on-line stationery shops, Present and Correct. A lunch-break browse on their website helps sooth my mild obsession with paper objects.  – Alice Humphrys

Beetle tea towels, American aprons and plenty of stationery porn – the new Natural History collection has arrived. Think hummingbirds, handwriting and curious coral accessories…

(Homer Simpson:) “Mmmmm. Eames rocker. Blue coral cushion. Dark blue walls. Mmmmm.”

I spotted these hummingbird cushions and prints at Top Drawer earlier this year – don’t the prints look great grouped together like this? (Lloyd Grossman:) “The symmetry between the bars of the love seat and the bars of the bird cages is not to be ignored. This subtle allusion to issues such as imprisonment, freedom and the concept of escape is crucial to our understanding of this exquisite piece. The birds above the bench appear to have escaped their cages; they seem to be free, but on closer inspection, we realise they’re still trapped – framed forever behind sheets of cold glass. Yah.”

(Lady GaGa:) “N, N, N, Notebooks, N N N, Notebooks.”

I’ve admired these American Ice Milk aprons from afar for some time, so it’s great to finally find a UK stockist. They look more like cocktail dresses than aprons! Knowing my luck, I’d probably just slop lasagne down the front if I owned one…

There are so many lovely products here, but my favourite is still the beetle tea towel. So much so that I’ve turned it in to a cushion for my sofa! – Ellie

Advent calendar: DEC 11

December 11, 2010

O come all ye faithful, give that 11th door a mighty shove. It’s a biggie…

It’s a beautiful hand-printed Christmas card from Sort Design! At the Cockpit Arts open evening recently, I bumped into the moustached, charming and ‘revisionist’ typographers from Sort, and admired their lovely wares. To be honest, they probably thought I was a right freak because I hung around cooing over trays of type for an unhealthy length of time before stocking up on ‘Allotment Fancier’s Stationery Sets‘. Just in case. – Ellie