Thursday, 23 June 2011

DIY: How to make a woven bracelet

Apologies for my absence! I have been settling into the Somerset way of life and my new role of Trends Analyst for Clarks sports footwear. To make up for it here is a little DIY post on how to make a woven bracelet like designer jeweller Aurelie Bidermann (except mine is a bargainous £5!) So this is not my own idea but attempted from the fabulous website Honestly WTF centre of all things hot right now, if you haven't heard of this website ch ch check it out a la Beastie Boys.

This was Honestly WTF blogger Erica's stunning result

Though for us Brits it has to be adapted slightly so you will need: a Primark bangle (£2.50) with large links to thread easily,4x coloured embroidery threads, keep them in tonal shades for diversity, 2x hair pins, scissors, a mate with steady hands.

Lay your bracelet out and measure your thread out keeping in 4x the length of the chain bracelet. Do this for the 4 coloured sets of thread.

Measure out your 30 threads, 2 in one colour way and 2 sets of 15 in another colour way to contrast. Tie in knot with 2 inches spare and separate with 2 hair pins.

Weave the inside thread under the first link and then cross the outside thread over and keep it in the same link (each thread goes once into every link)

My friend Becky and I wove round both sides of the chain to give a mega colourful effect. When finished tie in one big knot and trim your ends.

Happy braiding!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Rise of the Gentleman

He is tall, smart in a crisp suit with slicked neat hair, in one hand he holds a whisky tumbler and in the other a lit cigarette. He is a man of few words and has a refined air about him which makes others gravitate towards him. Women adore him while men idolise or envy him. He is Don Draper of the hit US drama Mad Men. Part of the reason the series, now in its fourth season released on DVD this week in the UK, has received such a cult following is due to the magnetism of its main protagonists and Don, who is a rake dressed as gentleman, is the main attraction.

Since the Victorian era there has always been a fascination surrounding the elite members of civilised society also known as Gentleman, whose manners, morals and most importantly style signified their respect and status. However the days of top hats, tailcoats and calling cards have given way to the homogenisation of the Topman style troopers in their uniform of skinny jeans, graphic tees, checked shirts and sneakers. Though there is a cultural shift occurring notably in films, from Tom Fords beautifully executed A Single Man to the recent award winning The King’s Speech, and this smarter trend is in turn affecting men’s fashion. A subtle change in men’s style, such as the prevalence of the classic ‘brown’ shoe from a brogue to a derby as well as the preference of espadrilles in summer imitating timeless Riviera elegance shows a return to debonair style is beginning.

It is no coincidence that in February that the power house that is Net-a-porter launched their brother site Mr Porter as a suave destination for male appreciators of the finer things in fashion. Slick, stylish and rocking an aesthetic that more than resembles the renowned gentleman’s style magazine Fantastic Man, Mr Porter is riding on the increasing wave of male consumer spending in fashion. So what can we expect for men’s fashion in Autumn/Winter 2011 according to the catwalk reports... Bailey for Burberry was championing the dapper royal look, obviously playing on the coming royal nuptials with tailored trousers, shiny smart shoes and structured woollen coats in regal checks or sophisticated camel. Lanvin, as ever the king of elegance, presented the new subversive gent who had an air of the dandy in a tightly tailored jacket but who wore his trousers baggy with a touch of nonchalance. Elbaz wanted to introduce the young to elegance and to highlight the appeal of layering leading to mystery.

Men’s fashion is buttoning up and educating all in sophistication, long live the gent!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

New Year, new post!

Happy New Year everyone and I hope you are all fighting along with your resolutions and not finding an excuse to still drink bubbly by midday and gorge on chocolates (ahem!'s on my many lists of what not to do)

I am back writing a regular column called 'cutting edge' for the brilliant, a fashion and modelling industry website, where I get to do a spot of fashion forecasting. If you want to see my predictions for what we'll all be donning and hankering for in 2011 then please click through here.

I got quite a few clicks on my post on How to make a cushion cover from an old jumper and as one of my trend forecasting musings involved the resurgence of the artisan and the crafty approach to fashion I have mustered up a new project. I saw this lovely idea in the new Elle Decoration which transformed a vintage tennis racket into a mirror and wall feature. I will scan the pic in but for now to help your foggy minds I found this very similar picture from styled by the interior designer Grant K Gibson. Now I am a great hoarder, it's in the blood as my grandad was a smithy and his garden was a fantastical land of scrap metal, and of course I have a pair of vintage rackets! I also know a great cheap glass cutters on the Muswell Hill Broadway who'll hopefully fit the mirror for pennies. Please send me posts or links to any random projects you are undertaking, I love to see others mad surges of creativity!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

A cultural collection of websites

I thought I'd share my favourite websites with you that I keep going back to at the moment. One is French, another Mexican and the last one is Scandinavian, I'm feeling quite multicultural this Christmas!

An Angel at my Table
This website describes itself as 'French style quirky and unusual accessories and painted furniture' and is a small family business run by a team of 6 including the dog.

They stock eccentric and quintessentially french products from jewellery to vases. My favourite item changes each week but what with needing some bloom in winter these silk flower cuts are a sweet reminder of spring days. They are priced at £9.50 for all three.

Based in London's East end this Mexican shop is an injection of Latin American energy, its name refers to religious folk charms. The shop was established out of a love for the country and has a nice story behind its beginnings "In 1990 Tom travelled in an old Saab from California to Mexico. He was swept away by the beauty of the county and the bold, colourful and strange aesthetic qualities in their Art and Craft. He abandoned a career in academia and returned a year later to established Milagros."

I am slightly in love with their wedding bunting 'paper pricardo' which is hand cut paper streamers. Have the wedding just for the streamers! Priced at £6 for 6m of streamers.

Mit Hus Home
I have already blogged about this gem of a site but perhaps I didn't do it justice as I just blathered on about stags ornaments (yep that flame of obsession hasn't calmed down yet either!) The website and catalogue specialises in Scandinavian inspired accessories for the home, garden and gifts and is a refreshing antidote to all the Cath Kidstonising going on in many people's homes.

This Nordic tea pot gets my heart fluttering very earthy and natural. It's priced at £29.95 including VAT.

It's an Ikea invasion!

Ikea have been literally breaking out of their two up two down box with some guerrilla marketing imagination. Earlier this year in Paris Ikea took over some of the metro's platforms transforming them into cozy lounges for weary commuters.

For Christmas, the season of shopping, pooped out Parisians can enjoy a comfy sofa rest at one of 12 bus shelters dotted across the city.

This is a marketing campaign even your tired feet can appreciate!

Monday, 22 November 2010

How to make a cushion cover from an old jumper

I have been wanting a soft cable knit style cushion for ages, though I need to stop splurging my hard earned pennies and am getting quite into the old make do and mend thing (OK so I watch Kirsty's homemade home, get fired up and then when it all starts looking distorted and most definitely homemade by a five year old I get in a raging sulk) However this project involves NO SEWING and you can even make it while watching the telly, my kind of making stuff!
All you need is a cushion, an old woolly jumper (mine was a Marc Jacobs jumper, a rare charity shop find killed by the its evil nemesis the tumble dryer) bondaweb which can be found in all haberdasheries, some pins, an iron and scissors.
First place the cushion in the jumper to get a good fit and pin your hems at the neck and bottom of the jumper and then iron to get them flat and neat.
Don't forget to use a tea towel if you don't have an ironing board, I know don't judge me!

Next snip strips of bondaweb and place inside the folded hems instead of sewing them. I had to cut off the arms and taper in the corners to keep it neat and secure with a wodge of bondaweb and a good steaming with the iron.

And there you have it, a cosy and unique cushion to cuddle!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

More Skandinavian style...dribble dribble lust sigh

My main obsessions in interiors are eccentric bits and pieces rather than overall 'look', though I suppose that could be called a style in itself? The new eclecticism? Hmm more magpie nest in my case!
Anyway I am seriously coveting, in no precise order; glass bell jars, stag head mounts (not taxidermy ones, find them slightly creepy and generally wrong), silver stag ornaments, quilts, cable knit cushions, wide board warm walnut wood flooring and homemade felt style Christmas decorations. If my head were a magpies nest this would be what it looks like right now..mmm!

I just came across this amazing website which sources all products Scandinavian, from jewellery to home interiors items. But I literally have my heart set on these cast aluminum stag and deer and for £16.95 for the large one (20cmx9cmxh17cm) and only £8.95 for the small deer (15cmx6cmxh14cm) they are not to be overlooked!

Go visit