Thursday, 18 December 2014

Book Review: Giftwrapped by Jane Means

I'm a late developer when it comes to the art of gift-wrapping. Yes, I was always wowed if I received presents that were exquisitely presented but it's only in the passed few years that I've realised how achievable it is, with a little thought and a well-stocked craft cupboard, to add significant zhush to your bestowing. And that's why, just in time for that Christmas wrapping bonanza, today's post is a book review of Giftwrapped: Practical and Inventive Ideas for All Occasions and Celebrations by Jane Means.

Jane Means is a wrapping guru extraordinaire. She raises the presentation bar by a few hundred feet but somehow manages to convey her obvious talent in a way that is both inspiring and encouraging.

Published by Jacqui Small, Giftwrapped takes you through the whole range of packaging problems (bottles, clothes, circular tins)...with fantastic and gorgeous solutions.

Jane means teaches gift-wrapping (as well as selling an enormous range of want-it-now ribbons and papers) for a living, and her skill at demonstrating a variety of techniques (bow-tying, pleating, bouquet-encasing) shines throughout the book.

You'll be relieved to know that Giftwrapped is not a plea to spend hundreds of pounds on fancy extras...plenty of the ideas here are free...for example, adding little sprigs of rosemary to your ribbons. These little touches, alongside your new-found wrapping prowess will make you feel like Modern Country crafting royalty!

Covering everything from baby shower presents to making the perfect labels, Giftwrapped has the power (with a little help from you!) to transform so-so offerings to breathtaking beauties.

{Get your copy of Giftwrapped by Jane Means here.}

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Monday, 15 December 2014

A White Christmas: Home Tour

This weekend, we had the most wonderful time putting the final touches to our Christmas decorations. The mild but crisp weather allowed us to enjoy a very festive walk, admiring Christmas lights as we went.

I love to see how other people do Christmas. And, if ever there was a Modern Country interior to persuade me to go all white, with hints of the softest greys (and lots of green for a suitably Modern Country Christmas!) then this, surely, must be it...

A chic white home office with a gold mirror

Can I just take a moment to 'Oooh' at this gorgeous girls' bedroom?

All that greenery, particularly the wreaths at the windows, feels so stylishly festive, doesn't it?

A thoroughly Modern Country Christmas home!

Images via Skona Hem

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Friday, 12 December 2014

Modern Country Nails: MoYou Nails Review

{MoYou Nails Review: Two Special Nail Varnishes (in Nude and Razzle Dazzle Rose), Three Stamping plates: 1136975Scraper and Stamper set}

I had a lovely jaunt out to the Country Living Fair a couple of weeks ago. One stall in particular stood out as being a gorgeously contemporary twist on the time-honoured tradition of beautifully varnished nails. I always think perfectly presented nails are one of those things that literally adds polish to any Modern Country get-up, don't you? 

One of the ladies on the MoYou Nails stand persuaded me to have my nails done. Not that I needed much persuading! A manicure for free? Yes please!

I was expecting another humdrum product but Oh. My Goodness. I've never seen anything like it. I've had so many questions about how I managed to get these gorgeous images onto my nails that I thought a review was needed!

MoYou Nails sell stamping plates and nail varnishes online and in stores (Debenhams, Fenwick and Bentalls) to enable you to print images onto your nails...or sunglasses, mirrors, mobile phones, windows.... There are over 1500 designs to choose from. That was not necessarily a plus! I spent aaaaages narrowing down the designs I wanted!! 

First Impressions

The varnishes are gorgeous - beautifully vibrant, opaque colours, and apply well. The opacity means that they are on the thick side, which makes them ideal for stamping but a little harder to work with for base coats. 

The stamp and scraper come together. The stamper is easy to use -  squishy and a good size and the scraper does it's job well...though I'd prefer it a little bigger and squishier and it took a while of playing around to get the images to pick up properly. However, its the stamping plates that really stand out.

They come in little individual packets (see left hand of the image above). You need to remove the packaging (middle), and then peel of the blue covering (right) to reveal the mirrored surface with exquisitely etched images. The plates seem very good quality: pleasingly heavy, and the images are very clear.

Using The Products

First, I applied this MoYou Special Nail Polish in Nude. I really love the colour...but, as I said above, it was a little on the gloopy side. However, it did get a great solid covering in more or less one coat and dried quickly.

Once the polish had hardened, I picked out the first stamping plate (113).

The process is simple.
1) Apply a little of the varnish onto the image of your choice.
I love the bright cerise of Razzle Dazzle Rose against the gentle Nude.

2) Use the scraper at a 45 degree angle to scrape of the excess. This leaves the polish in the etched parts.

3) Press the stamper pad over the image.

4) Roll the stamper over your nails from one side to the other to make sure that the whole image is transferred....{MCS tip: start with a straightforward design and experiment with different angles. It takes a while to be able to line up the images to appear exactly where you want them!}

Next up is my favourite....look at that chandelier!! 
Modern Country L:O:V:E!

You do have to be fairly quick to make sure that the varnish doesn't start drying on the plate...but it's definitely worth taking the time to get the placement just right. It's hard to hide any mistakes!

Lastly, I wanted to try a little extra creativity. I applied TWO varnishes onto this little owl. 

The Razzle Dazzle Rose, and another purple varnish that I already had. Then I repeated the same scraping and stamping process, which definitely gets easier each time I try....and it turned out beautifully two-tone...and so cute!!

Overall Impressions

I was truly blown away by the experience at the Country Living Fair...but, remember, they were absolute pros at using the products. I have to say it has taken a fair bit of practice at home to learn to get it looking right....but now I've had that practice...and compliments aplenty (not least from my daughters!),  I can't wait to get extra MoYou Nails plates to add to my collection! 

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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Remodelista by Julie Carlson Book Review

Have you been warmly engulfed by the design vortex that is the Remodelista blog? If that's a yes then it'll come as no surprise that the book Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home by Julie Carlson is an absolute home bible for the renovators among you. 

Here's the blurb: is the go-to, undisputed authority for home design enthusiasts, remodellers, architects, and designers. Unlike sites that cater to all tastes, Remodelista has a singular and clearly defined aesthetic: classic pieces trump designs that are trendy and transient, and well-edited spaces take precedence over cluttered environments. High and low mix seamlessly here, and getting the look need not be expensive. Remodelista decodes the secrets to achieving this aesthetic, with in-depth tours and lessons from 12 enviable homes; a recipe-like breakdown of the hardest-working kitchens and bathrooms; dozens of do-it-yourself projects; The Remodelista 100, a guide to the best everyday household objects; and an in-depth look at the ins and outs of the remodelling process. In a world of design confusion, Remodelista takes the guesswork out of the process.

Remodelista is beautifully packaged. With great quality pages and a weighty cover, this is a book to display with pride!

The whole ethos of Remodelista is that the author's want to pass on their wisdom and experience gained through many years of renovating their own properties, helping their readers save time and money and valuable energy. Why waste hours mindlessly trawling the Internet when others have put in the legwork for you? For exaple, there's a fantastic explanation of what to buy and what to avoid at Ikea.

My favourite quote is this:
Classic and livable trumps trendy and transient.
Remoelista consistantly combines a contemporary edge with a timeless warmth. It's a gorgeous aesthetic....

The homes they share are very much of one look. And, it should be said that there is a very strong American-bias....but that's no bad thing! 

If you adore the images I've shared here then you will be in design heaven! Lots of white walls, pared-back spaces....but in no way lacking in homely cosiness. It's a look they have absolutely mastered...and are will to share every iota of information with us.


{If you'd like to buy a copy of the Remodelista book, click here!}

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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

New Vintage: The Homemade Home by Tahn Scoon: Book Review

This book is an absolute Modern Country Interiors gem! I'm so thrilled to be able to review it on here!! New Vintage: The Homemade Home by Tahn Scoon has the subtitle: Beautiful Interiors and How-To Projects. The title, although an entirely acurate description, doesn't quite do justice to the wonder of this book.

You see, New Vintage takes you into another world; a world full of beauty and creativity, where you really do start to believe that it might just be possible to make sure that everything in your home is both useful and beautiful.

The reference to Vintage in the title should not be misunderstood as referring to Granny Chic, or anything of the sort. Oh no, no, no! New Vintage is all about understated restraint. A very cool mix of Old and New. Modern Country Interiors abound.

The How-To projects are both extraordinarily doable and extremely desirable: a little simple reupholstery here, a little burnishing of wood there...add a crystal knob or two, and you're away!

But if there had to be just one thing that I had to pick out of New Vintage as it's unique selling point, it's just that! It's unique! I've not seen anything quite like it. Lots of warm wood, a slight Scandinavian slant, a touch of French elegance and a lot of Tahn Scoon's incredible take on Modern Country Style.


Tahn Scoon says, "The book focuses on how to decorate yourself with inspirational interiors and hip how-to projects, such as how to make an upholstered bedhead and re-vamp vintage furniture. A home filled with beautifully crafted hand and homemade pieces is a home filled with warmth and soul. Be daring enough to fill your home with the things you love, the home-made, the handmade, the well-worn and the well-loved - and boldly combine them with the clean sensibilities of the new - and you'll have a home that is truly beautiful and absolutely you."


See what I mean?
Tahn Scoon's book New Vintage offers Modern Country Interiors at their best!
{Click on the link to buy!}

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