Friday, 8 February 2013

The Art of Handmade Living

Part of my reason for this blog was to inspire people to do things that are perfectly within their reach - I want to write about exhibitions and films that anyone can go and see, ways of entertaining children that don't cost the earth, and simply to alert people to things of beauty.

One of the things that brings me the most pleasure is making improvements to my home - after all, my home is where I spend the most amount of time, and I want it to look beautiful.  A friend of mine, Willow Crossley - we used to work together at Vogue Russia - recently had her first book published:  The Art of Handmade Living, which is all about making one's home look prettier, in a simple and easily attainable fashion.  There is strictly no professional equipment required!  (She also has a very good blog if you wanted to check it out:

Inspired by Willow, I decided to make my own home a little prettier.  I started small:  Sholto's tent.  Sholto LOVES his tent, but I was rather uninspired by the plain blue fabric with orange edges.  Here is a picture of him sitting outside it on his second birthday:

It blatantly needed help.  My first choice of covering was the exquisitely beautiful Moondog fabric designed by my friend Jenny Simpson and Kit Kemp for Chelsea Textiles.

Seriously, did you ever see anything so adorable, while at the same time being incredibly chic? I have literally been dreaming about it ever since I first laid eyes on it. However, it is hand embroidered, and I spent all this year's Chelsea Textiles budget on yet more cushions and some heavenly fabric for new sitting room blinds.

So instead I used the Nursery Window's Blackfoot Star fabric - a bargain at £6 a meter in the sale.  I stapled it all into place (gratifyingly quick and easy) and then covered the staples with a pretty blue ribbon that I bought in Temptation Alley at the top of the Portobello Road (one of my absolutely all time favourite shops), and where I also found a fabulous gimp and some pompoms.  Now, the tent looks like this:

Which I think you'd have to agree is ever so slightly more aesthetically pleasing.  The sheepskin lining it is from the market in Masham, North Yorkshire, but my favourite bit is something that only Sholto can see (because he is the only person allowed in his tent.)  My friend Jenny very kindly sent me a sample of Moondog, which I've framed with some braid and have stuck up inside the tent, so Sholto's house has artwork hanging.  (And maybe next year I'll buy some Moondog cushions. Unless my husband wins the lottery in which case I'm covering the whole room in it, literally.)