Donna Wilson is one busy lady and her homespun goodies just keep on a-comin’. Today I’ve been cooing over her new Spring 2012 collection and wanted to share with you a few highlights from her friendly ‘Woodland’ range.  Hand-made and printed in Stoke-on-Trent, Baby Burt is the newest addition to her egg cup family (joining the lovely Meg, Mog and Beardy Bob). Other bone china includes Fox and Grace the plates along with Bushy Tailed Squirrel and Grey Owl beakers. Too cute!

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Other items include this suitably named ‘Handy’ tea towel with bright red nails and bubbles!

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More lovely tea towel designs include ‘Acorn Leaves’ and ‘Use My Tail’ and there are gorgeous folksy flower cushions…

Donna Wilson Spring 2012, textiles, kitchen textiles, tea towels, cushion, folk, squirrel, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrysKeep your eyes on the Donna Wilson website later this month for the full range and other happy creatures. Hurrah!

And as if she wasn’t busy enough, another piece of exciting news is a little collaboration with Rococo Chocolates. (I know, not entirely home shopping but it’s chocolate….so I can’t ignore..) Donna has created a limited edition range of hand painted Easter eggs, including her own take on the matryoshka Russian Doll called ‘Food Chain’: One little solid chocolate egg with an illustration of a carrot inside another egg painted with a rabbit, all contained within a larger egg painted with a fox. LOVE IT! Beautifully presented in pretty packaging – far too pretty to throw away.

Donna Wilson Rococo Chocolates, Chocolate, Rococo, limited edition, Easter, Easter chocolates, Easter egg, ideal home, homehshoppingspy, ideal home, alice humphrys

Donna Wilson Easter eggs, Rococo Chocolates, limited edition, chocolate, fair trade, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

For those that don’t know, this is SERIOUSLY good, ethically traded chocolate. Available this Easter from Rococo stores, donnawilson.com and other selected retailers. – Alice

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Let us take a momentary pause from all things wintry to admire the new H&M SS 2012 tea towel designs. Who would have thought these 50 x 70cm pieces of cloth could bring such joy? As a homes journalist I have accumulated quite a substantial heap; I might have to start framing them on the wall…

H&M SS 2012 tea towels, H&M, homeware, kitchen textiles, tea towels, kitchen, print, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys     1. Lemonade. 2. Sel Aux Herbes, denim. 3. Cutlery. 4. Tea time. 5. Sel Aux Herbes, natural. 6. Coffee pots.

From a mere £3.99 a piece, they’re without a doubt the nicest and most affordable I’ve seen on the high street. Available on line and in store soon. Which one’s your favourite? – Alice 

It launches a week today, but we’ve tracked down the spring/summer H&M Home collection to bring you an exclusive preview! It’s really cheered me up on this grey November day…

Check. Out. This. Bed linen. The colours are so gorgeous, I had to pop to the Dulux website to create a matching springtime palette. Delicious. This colour combo reminds me of Mulberry’s Sobrani design – see the H&M cushion bottom right and the Mulberry one bottom left! (FYI: The H&M one is £2.99. The Mulberry one is £100.)

Elsewhere in this collection, there are doormats…

Beautiful bed linen sets…

Cute botancial and zigzag cushions…

Towels and bath mats with a vintage look…

Fun vegetable table runners and tea towels (perhaps it’s because of my new allotment, but these have got me VERY excited!)…

And lots of other lovely little things such as storage containers, tea-themed and floral tea towels and vintage-style table runners to die for…

Eee by gum, there’s nowt like a new collection. On Tuesday, we checked out the new Oxford Street H&M Home store (at 174 Oxford Street if you’re in London) – well worth a visit. The system in-store is a bit like Argos – you collect little magnetic photos of the products you want as you go round the store, and stick them to a magnetic board (your shopping trolley) then collect your goods at the till when you pay. Genius! – Ellie





ONE: Paper-cutting artist Rob Ryan has transformed his Ryantown shop into ‘Ryantoon’, in honour of Newcastle FC. All the products are black and white, and he’s banned colour completely until 15th November. I’m heading over to the Columbia Road area this weekend, so I’ll check it out and report back on Monday!

Ryantoon

TWO: Muji is releasing a new collection of very funky silicone trays – perfect for ice cubes, or making chocolates, or soaps…

muji ice cube traysmuji trays 2I love the idea of serving cold drinks with ice spoons, or a mug of hot chocolate with a solid chocolate spoon on the saucer ready for dunking and stirring – and how cool are the letter moulds for chocolate cake decorations? These silicone moulds are due to hit stores in late November, and will cost from £7.50 each.

tea towels2THREE: Just when you thought there were enough arty tea towels in the world – check out these lovely African-inspired designs at Design My World. They remind me a bit of the funky Anorak patterns, or the new Linea House of Fraser range – animal shapes are all the rage at the moment.

teatowelsI’ve just been sent an exciting book which I plan to read this weekend and share with you all next week…but for now, it’s back to reality with a thud sadly. The dishwasher drawer feature beckons…! Have a lovely weekend x  – Ellie

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

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!

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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.

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