Made of Wood // A Review

This book is the perfect book for this time of the year, filled with warm inviting homes that feature wood in many forms and styles and I adore every single one of them.  I can never resist a book written by Mark and Sally Bailey their effortless style and ability to fashion anything out of things they find fascinates me.  I have long been an admirer of their store Baileys Home in the heart of Herefordshire I have visited once a few years ago which is definitely not enough, I need to go back.  I have of course got a few things in my home from them, purchased over the years from chapel chairs to mirrors, Parfait jar lights, our loo seat oak of course and yes even my kitchen sink!

When Ryland Peters & Small asked if I would like to review Mark and Sally’s new publication Made of Wood I jumped at the chance.  I love wood but didn’t really realise how much until I read the book, I started to look around my home and truly noticed all the pieces I have that make our house a home, from Victorian striped pine doors to a French window shutter mantle shelf, hand made bath panels from scaffolding boards and painted floor boards in all the bedrooms, old tables and chairs and the list goes on.

The versatility of this wonderful material is endless and the book focuses on it in all its glory the warmth it brings to a home making it feel grounded either through a homes structure or the items curated within it.

“Made of Wood is a celebration of recycled pieces, age old crafting techniques, clean modern lines and global influences as well as art and tableware with a handmade feel.

The first half of the book Wooden Elements explores the many ways in which we can use wood in our homes, sculpted, left in its natural state, roughly sawn or smoothly planed, recycled or painted.  The second half of the book Wooden Stories contains 12 case studies, each one offering a glimpse into the homes of people who have used this most ancient and versatile of materials in creative and inspiring ways.

Living with wood brings tactile comfort to every day, warms any interior, and will give your home a sense of soul that is so often lacking in this age of mass production.”

I wish I could live in each and every home in this book, each so different from the next but with the one continuous link between them all that being the material that makes them special, wood.  Mark and Sally have such a way with words you understand their passion behind what they do and why, also the elements that make their homes so evocative and inviting from the Welsh Farmhouse to Whitecross Farm both homely and unique.  They believe that surrounding yourself with natural materials is a way of achieving a balanced and peaceful atmosphere in the home, wood being a principal element for harmony and I couldn’t agree more.  It is such a versatile element you can create almost anything from it with many finishes in its raw state, painted or polished, rough, recycled or reclaimed.  I would love to clad the outside of a house in it but that’s another story.

One of my favourite homes featured is The Plough to me its simply perfect with a pared back feel, no fuss just simple and honest, things have been chosen for their patina or sculptural qualities and elements have been left alone and untouched to reveal the history of this beautiful home that once was a pub.

This is definitely a book to invest in, you can get a copy from here directly, it would make a perfect Christmas gift for a loved one or a treat for yourself.  To own a copy to pick up and indulge in whenever you feel like, it will make you feel warm inside and inspire you with ideas to transform parts of your own home with wonderful wood.

Jx

  • Images 4, 6, 7, & 9 kindly supplied by the publishers Ryland Peters & Small, taken from the book Made of Wood written by Mark & Sally Bailey and photographed by Debi Treloar

 

Cabin Escapes

Winter mood, makes me turn to all my wonderful interior books that are filled with homes that encapsulate the cabin vibe, Scandinavian style at its cosiest.  This time of year makes me want to disappear into the woods to my fictional cabin and weather out these darker months before Spring returns in a cocooned state of happiness.

I wonder if like me you feel exactly the same, piling up the blankets and throws, snuggling up in your chunky knit jumpers and warmest slippers creating that little bit of cabin style in your own home.  So settle yourself down and dream with me. Bring on all the wood, texture, sheepskins, blankets, tactile concrete, picture windows with cushion-strewn seats and the obligatory log burner with neatly stacked log pile.

Simple pleasures of a layered bed to sleep in, a warm inviting bathroom to thaw out in after being outside in the forest, the squishiest sofa to curl up in with a warming mug of hot chocolate to indulge in and more wood, more and more!

The best publications to give you that cabin high and ones that I turn to at this time of year are Elle Decoration Country and The Scandinavian Home by Niki Brantmark,  let’s escape together.

Jx

Images ~ 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11

 

Created + Found

You don’t have to look very far to find wonderful independent makers and creators.  I am very lucky that in my line of work I come across many folk who do just that and I’m honoured that I can call many of them friends.  Jette is one of these creatives and she has recently launched a beautiful on line store Created & Found.  Jette is a food stylist based in Dublin her passion lies in the kitchen as her first collection testifies.  I asked Jette to tell me the story of starting Created & Found and the ethos behind it.

“Created & Found is a home ware range that encapsulates slow living, functionality and aesthetics, focusing ruthlessly on creating incredible products that encourage memories and experiences around food. Created & Found is based on honesty and authenticity and we believe in community not competition and working in collaboration with Irish makers has helped to build a community for the long term. Within the collection are ceramics, wood products, linens and beeswax items and they have all be created with a vision to make everyday living a little more special.

Each piece is lovingly made by hand, taking into account environmental and traditional practices. The range is completely unique in that we have created only 50 pieces of each item in a bid to create a range that is so special and in keeping with our slow living, maker focused ethics. In our ceramics we have a dinner plate, bowl and beaker, we have 5 sizes of chopping boards, aprons, tea towels and napkins, two styles of wooden spoons; serving and cooking and beeswax candles. The items available range from €8 to €52.”

The current collection makes my heart skip a beat, linen, ceramics, wood; what’s not to like?  From the rustic rough edged oak chopping boards, to soft Irish linen aprons and napkins , ceramics hand turned in Kilkenny using natural dyes to create the stunning one off pieces that you will treasure for a long time.

To celebrate the launch I was lucky enough to be sent some of Created & Found linen napkins and a to die for plate.  What better way to showcase these lovely wares than to bake!

With it being the end of Autumn I had an abundance of home grown apples and pears to use up, so I got creative in the kitchen and baked a delicious apple and almond cake and our family favourite apple and pear crumble.  It is so quick and easy I’ll share the recipe, just in case you want to give it a go!

Ingredients

700g apple (cookers)

225g dessert apples (such as cox or russets)

225g pear

50g unsalted  butter

1 tbsp golden caster sugar

Topping

140g golden caster sugar

140g plain flour

2 tsp cinnamon

140g unsalted butter

140g rolled oats

First pre heat the oven to 200°c.  Peel, core and cut the apples and pears into large chunks.  Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the apple and pear chunks and cook over a high heat for a couple of minutes, turning all the time.  Sprinkle over the caster sugar and keep turning until slightly soft and caramelised.  Spoon the fruit mixture into a baking dish.

To make the topping, place the butter (cubed), caster sugar, flour, cinnamon in a large bowl and rub between your finger tips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Mix in the oats and scatter the mixture over the fruit, pushing it firmly down.

Bake for 25 mins until the topping is golden, serve with anything you wish.

There’s nothing better than baking and serving your handmade goodness to the family especially on beautiful ceramics.

Everything featured on Created & Found would make perfect gifts for the artisan cook in your life.  I have my eye on the chopping boards *wink*

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  • With thanks to Created & Found for gifting the plate and napkins for this post

 

 

 

 

 

Autumnal

Well the season is well and truly in full swing and I’m embracing it with open arms, hello Autumn I rather like you.  I am always a little apprehensive betwixt the end of Summer and the glorious few months that follow.  I am ready now to let go of that limbo, the reluctance to let go of the warm sun and sandal wearing days, and whole heartedly grasp the magical moments that Autumn brings.

I like it when the temperature drops so that I can start layering my wardrobe, chunky knits over skinny jeans, woolly socks in boots, snuggle into well wrapped scarves.  I even change my handbag from wicker basket to my Nara bucket bag with it’s beautiful soft buttery leather.

Dark mornings snuggled under the duvet for 5 more minutes than usual, bowls of warming porridge by candle light before the day gets started.  Then at the end of the day curling up under blankets with warming cups and indulgent books.  If I had a log burner it would be lit, crackling warmth infusing the room, one day I will have one!

Bracing walks kicking the jewel coloured fallen leaves, comfort food made with locally sourced delicious seasonal produce. Displaying a myraid of pumpkins and gourds in all their varying colours shapes and sizes.

To truly feeling those moments of hygge to wrap it around you to savour those precious memories created whilst doing all the wonderful Autumn things that you do.  To get a sense of what this means I would highly recommend this profound little book written by Louisa Thomsen Brits called the book of hygge (the Danish art of living well) a perfect read whilst snuggled up in your favourite armchair.

So yes once again Autumn I rather do like you…..

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Image source  2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 & 11 the rest are my own

 

 

 

 

Salvage Hunt

So it arrived, the first salvage hunt of the season an early rise and a 2 hour car journey to Lincoln to peruse the wonders that is the Arthur Swallows Fair Antiques and Home show, one of the largest shows you could possibly visit.   A bit daunting you may think if it’s your first time there, stalls as far as the eye can see, punctuated with the biggest articulated lorries that have travelled from far and wide from all over Europe; full to the brim with masses of stock from industrial lighting to scaffolding planks and everything else in between.

Sadly the weather gods weren’t on our side, it was a bit grey and a bit wet but that didn’t dampen the spirits.  I focused on the detail as taking images in not so good conditions is rather tricky!   You can also find yourself overwhelmed by the size of Lincoln so it’s good to go micro and really look to see what is available around you.

The textures, colours, different media, from metals to wood to glass to utterly bonkers, you name it you can find it here.  It is a superb show if you are home renovating, there is everything you could possibly want or need to give your home a quirky individual look.  Just having a little imagination goes a long way and the sellers are always there to help.

Some of the smaller items that caught my eye were an array of beautiful Indian antiques on a pitch, their hand carved printing blocks displayed in large marble bowls were wonderful.  Also the diverse collection of original paint rollers from Romania, the inspiration behind the new trend of updating walls and fabrics using the modern equivalent.

Did I come home with any purchases?  Of course I did, I can’t resist, just like a child in a sweet shop.  Another beautiful slubby linen sheet acquired from the lovely Gaille Skinner from France, her stand is sublime, finding out from Gaille about the history of the linen I bought was fascinating.  I have a kitchen decorating project starting in a few weeks and this will make the perfect Roman blind the defused light it will create will be magnificent.

Also another very large board, it is amazing that I only bought one as the choice was phenomenal, the Dutch contingent never fail to have the best wooden goods.  I came away with another peg rail too, it is now painted to match the other one in my spare room, so I have symmetry and a place to hang the vintage deck chair waiting for summer.  The large board on the other hand will be a multi functioning piece from using it on the kitchen table when having a feast to using it as a board over the bath when having a leisurely soak; it fits perfectly and holds everything you could possible need whilst relaxing.

The last item purchased was a flax comb.  Why I hear you ask, well I have no idea I just like them.  I’ve been on the hunt for a while for a good one and the Eastern European sellers didn’t let me down.  What I shall do with it now is still in the air, they do look wonderful as a piece of wall art so, maybe.

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Salvage Love ~ Linen Wood Glass

That excited feeling is starting to build, as Spring approaches it’s time to go out salvage hunting again.  As soon as Easter is here I make a trip to Lincoln to the Arthur Swallows Fair Antiques & Home Show, it’s a large affair with many dealers from far and wide.  It’s the perfect place to pick up all the wonderful things I like to replenish my home and the Owen and Hunter shelves with.

I go with an open mind on what I want to buy but I always seem to come away with items I can’t walk past: piles of beautiful French and Hungarian linens, old worn wood from bread boards to garden sieves, glass pickling jars are a weakness of mine and don’t get me started on enamel ware that can fill a post all by itself.

In the winter months I like having a good clear out, remove things that don’t fit in my scheme any more, to make room for new items that are cohesive and unique.  Shopping at any Arthur Swallows fair is a joy.  Stumbling across that one item that will lift your space knowing that you won’t be able to find it anywhere else makes me smile and also gives me a buzz when purchasing it.

I’m definitely leaning towards the less is more look at the moment, a pared back style with wonderful earthly colours and tactile items so my top three buys fit perfectly.   Linen is a perfect medium, I couldn’t be without it, from making curtains, throws on sofas, beds and table tops.  It dyes beautifully too, as I found out a few weeks ago when dying a French bed sheet, it came out the most perfect grey and is going to be turned into a roman blind for my kitchen.

I have recently hung an old garden sieve on the wall as a piece of art it looks stark and interesting, to make a bigger impact group a few together for a cohesive look.

Then the glass jar obsession, I simply adore them, they look wonderful placed by themselves but work equally well as storage jars,  or displaying simple stems.  Fill them with fairy lights for a unique light instillation, I did this over the Christmas period and loved it so much it’s still in my living room!

So the days are being ticked off for my visit to Lincoln, my excitement also builds for May and the anticipation of Ripley Decorative Home & Salvage Show.   This one I highly recommend as an overall superb weekend and if you are lucky the sun will shine on that one item that you simply can’t resist to take home.

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The Bench

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I love the simplicity and versatility of a well crafted bench.  They are a most useful but understated piece of furniture.

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Placed in the hall for daily use as storage and sitting whilst putting your shoes on before you run out of the door or simply to display a vase full flowers and nothing else.    At the end of one’s bed if there is the space, stacked with cushions and blankets when the weather turns chill or piles of magazines and books for those lazy weekends .   A bench used instead of chairs around a kitchen table or outside in the garden either displaying pots or left empty for you to sit and while away an hour or so.

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Images in order top to bottom 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9

The humble bench, perfectly perfect in every way.

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To Embrace Autumn

Instagram Happiness

Above Images Mine

Well I think I can finally say for me Autumn is well and truly here.  I have been trying to avoid it as long as possible, I wanted the summer to carry on and on this year; nope, I haven’t been quite ready for all things Autumnal.

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Now that I have opened my arms to embrace the changing season I’m surrounding myself with beautiful inspirational images full of texture and warmth, pops of orange and russet.  Wood comes into play too in all it’s forms.

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Do you bring out more cushions and blankets?  I know I do, warmer wools strewn over sofas and chairs and a few more in baskets just in case.  I also move things around to create new displays bringing nature indoors.

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Spending time on lovely long weekends in the kitchen when it’s squally outside, making pies and puddings using seasonal products is a true pleasure. It is also a wonderful time to stop for a while curl up on the sofa with a book and dream, this is the season I plan out new alterations to my own home by immersing myself in my many interior books and magazines.

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All other images ~ Here

So as the school holidays and the spooky goings on of Halloween fast approach take a moment to indulge ones senses to the joy of Autumn.

(a few items for the season, best place for snugly bedding and sleepwear is Toast, blankets The Atlantic Blanket Company and The Vintage Blanket Co, induglent skin care The Future Kept)

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and Sleep ….

As soon as November comes around the call of Christmas and the hulabaloo of the season, dark mornings and dark evenings all of this makes me want to curl up under my duvet and stay there for a while.   I do enjoy this time of the year but sometimes being cosy and warm is all that I crave.

Our bedroom is a little cocoon, deep red walls, wooden floors, plumped up cushions and squishy eiderdowns, you can understand the reasons for not wanting to leave it every morning!

But I do covet other rooms to rest your head in, I have a pinterest board filled to the brim with the most wonderful rooms, how marvellous it would be to be able to click your fingers and have a different scheme for different seasons without the cost!

Here are a few of my favourites, displayed in themes ….

Pale… and Sleep-005 By the window… and Sleep Wooden… and Sleep-001 Greens… and Sleep-003 Reds… and Sleep-004 Darks… and Sleep-002

All Images ~ Here

I do hope you enjoy your stylish slumbers this weekend!

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