Love, love, love the new collection from Random Retail. Always a sucker for a nice cushion and these screen printed beauties (all handmade on the Isle of Wight) are simply tip top!

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Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Textile designer Joy Joliffe took inspiration from 1950s ceramics and her leafy garden to create these vintage prints. I love her attention to detail, even on the backs…

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The three designs are called Four Rose Plates, Stalks & Leaves, Lines & Spots and cost £38 each (including a good quality feather pad). And if you have a hankering for yet another calico shopping bag, they’ve also relaunched these rather fetching, limited edition designs. Lovely stuff. – Alice

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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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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

Spring flowers…

April 13, 2012

I’ve just spent a few days in the West Country skipping around like a sprightly spring lamb. The fresh air was wondrous and I was amazed by the amount of daffodils bloomin’ everywhere. In my attempt to bring a little bit of the country back to the city, I picked daffodils from my Mother’s garden and gathered whatever greenery I could scrounge from the local hedgerows, along the Devon lanes. I decided to display them in the many jam jars I have collected over the years, I normally use these as tea light holders but with a bit of ribbon they looked suitably pretty for my little floral arrangements that are now dotted ALL over my house…

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Spring flowers, daffodils, countryside, Devon, Spring, flower display, country flowers, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Spring flowers, daffodils, countryside, Devon, Spring, flower display, country flowers, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

If you’re looking for a similar weekend project then this is all you need:

1. A selection of glass jars or any other interesting glass receptacles! If you don’t have many kicking about at home try The Jam Jar Shop for all sorts of shapes and sizes or raid your local car boot/charity shop for old glass bottles.

2. Scraps of ribbon, baker’s twine, brown string..whatever you fancy (I used a selection of ribbons in yellows/creams to keep to a co-ordinated colour scheme.

3. A selection of cut spring flowers from your garden, florist or supermarket and greenery.

For more country decorating ideas why not visit the Ideal Home website. Happy weekend. The sun is set to shine! – Alice

It’s not everyday you can walk into a shop and come out with a vintage jelly mould reinvented as a pendant lamp, a Mexican bingo set, moose shaped firelighters and a deckchair. But if you’re lucky enough to live near the market town, Corbridge in Northumberland, you can! (For those that don’t, you can of course buy online, phew!), Simon Young and Jenny Vaughan’s converted workshop (round the back of an old filling station) is a treasure trove of totally unique finds for the home. They named their shop RE after two giant metal red letters they bought in a Parisian flea market…

People, step inside and feast your eyes on these wonderful buys..

I would very much like these jolly, jelly mould pendant lamps. How lovely to hang a row of these above a kitchen table…

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Planning fodder for your Jubilee street party yet? Make sure you get yourself a set of these British Isles cookie cutters..

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Keep your teapot cosy with this cute pom-pom number, hand knitted in Northumberland..

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This red, white and blue twine will come in handy for any Jubilee/Olympic crafty projects…

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Elsewhere there are gorgeous linen cushions, inspired by American flour sacks…

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original 50’s and 60’s mixing bowls in pretty on-trend pastel shades..

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and this ‘waste not want not’ fabric is sold off the roll, for £16 a metre. It’s 44cm wide perfect for a table runner. GREAT idea..

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Thank goodness it’s March! Spring had sprung and I’ve just bought 4 bunches of daffodils for £1 in my lunch break – hurrah! They’re currently bunged in a vase and just about surviving in our air conditioned office but what I’d really like to display them in is this…

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A test tube for each single stem. Ah Joy! Thank you RE. Delightful finds and next time I’m even vaguely heading oop north I’m going to take a detour and pop by. – Alice


Oooh don’t you just love a good car boot sale? My local in Chiswick is always a treat and one of the best in the South East, they say! It’s always full of mid-century buys but it’s only on once a month. To get my fix the rest of the time, I also enjoy a browse online and there are two sites where I can easily while away the hours. First up is Winter’s Moon. Founder, Julia, has a background in textiles and loves colour and pattern. She has a beady eye for second-hand pieces and has also designed her own furniture and textiles range. She styles and photographs everything in her warehouse in Chichester, and very nicely too…

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The collection is constantly changing but you’re always likely to find a mix of vintage, recycled and handmade. I love the quirky statement chairs, 50’s kitchenalia and lamp shades made from retro fabrics. I’ve got my eye on her yellow, bespoke formica-top table.

Another dreamy site is The OK Corral. Brainchild of the arty Joy Joliffe and partner (who also run the fabulous Random Retail – scrummy screen printed textiles). Both jumble sale fanatics, they decided to set up an online shop when they ran out of space for all their wondrous finds…

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They only stock the very best and their turnover of product is speedy, so keep dropping by. You will also find jelly moulds, enamelware, postcards and toast racks. Their prices are very competitive too with most items under a tenner! How old school is that red picnic tray with foldaway legs!? I’m hankering after the sunny yellow flask, perfect for a brew of Lady Grey…on a summer’s day. – Alice

If you’ve picked up our May issue, you’ll have spotted our little round up of Festival of Britain buys (on page 15) – products created to mark the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain, 1951. After the dreary war years, the Festival was billed as a ‘tonic for the nation’ – a celebration of British design and creativity, centring around the Southbank area of London. The cheery anniversary designs (on display at the Southbank Centre shop from 22 April until 4 September) echo the optimistic spirit of the early 1950s, and are proof that we’re living in an equally exciting era for British design…

Lizzie Allen‘s Festival of Britain wallpaper (top left) is beautiful, but it’s £370 a roll, so perhaps I’ll be getting the tea towel (£10) or the tote bag (£15) instead! I love the little brass band, the pigeons, the collage-style sun beams – everything. We’ve ogled the Mini Moderns Festival wallpaper on here before, but I love the matching rug, too. I also admired ceramic Festival cake plates from Esther Coombs, and stylish Royal Festival Hall designs from People Will Always Need Plates. Let’s have a closer look at Lizzie Allen’s wallpaper design, some of the Festival of Britain paint shades from Fired Earth, and the lovely new book: A Festival on the River:

I think my favourite design of all is this silk cushion from RE, made using a vintage Festival scarf design:

Wayne Hemingway’s Vintage festival is coming to the Southbank this summer, too, and he’s curating an exhibition of Festival of Britain memorabilia which will be well worth a look if you’re in London. – Ellie


Flea market finds

September 7, 2010

Last weekend my vintage-geek friends and I put on our flattest most comfortable pumps, grabbed our swag bags and hopped on the speedy Eurostar for our annual pilgrimage to Lille in France for La Braderie – the mama of all flea markets. The vintage shopping was better than ever, and we haggled for some brilliant bargains at the stalls…

I loved these vintage milk churns (sadly too heavy and bulky to carry home) and spent a lot of time leafing through old books and magazines. I’ve never seen so many broken but GORGEOUS old alarm clocks – perfect for styling purposes, but purely ornamental!

I couldn’t resist this little bird vase – such pretty colours.

If you have a craving for a vintage tin, there are about six billion to choose from on the cobbled streets!

I had to be dragged away from this very cool vintage Louis Vuitton suitcase complete with lovely luggage labels and stickers. SIGH. At 300 Euros (presumably because it’s a genuine LV) it was a bit out of my price range sadly, but I can always get the look with the Cavallini reproduction luggage sticker set from Papernation!

There was so much beautiful brocante, I thought I would burst with joy!

Needless to say, we sampled the moules frites and vin blanc at lunchtime and watched the piles of shells start to grow…

I picked up a few gems along the way. One of my favourite finds was this huge metre-long 1950s French school biology poster about ‘les insectivores’. I am still trying to explain science-lab-chic to the boyfriend, but I framed this and put it up on the wall last night and he didn’t seem to notice it. So far, so good. It was only four Euros!

I also picked up a massive two metre university biology wall hanging – hand painted and very cool. I thought it was possibly coral. But then I got my dictionary out and found out it’s a bacteria of some sort! It’s going to hang in our dining room eventually:

I love the way it’s been so painstakingly labelled using stencils and ink, then somebody at a later date has just scribbled out one of the words and amended it in marker pen!

I also bought this cute china ‘Confiture’ jar, which I will fill next time I make jam, then give to somebody at Christmas. All in all, I left Lille feeling as though I could quite happily spend a week mooching around, bartering in Fr-anglais, admiring tat. In a day we probably only covered a quarter of the rues we intended to! But we kept getting distracted by vintage treasure! – Ellie