Wednesday 30 March 2011

Tig's White Canvas: Paint With Me

The Inspiration Photo

Well, hello there, sweetness.
You're looking stunning, as always. 

And, yes, I did see you give your hair a
flirty little flick after reading that.

Today, in a slight break from my strictly-planned blog rota
(can you hear the irony alarm bell clanging?),
please may I tell you about Cath and her blog

If you have any interest at all in painting and drawing, even if you're an absolute beginner, then this really and truly is the blog for you. Cath is not only AWESOME at painting but is also amaaaaazing at teaching too.

I am rather embarrassed to be showing you my own painting but I told Cath I would so here it is...


My Finished Version

In a completely relaxed way, and over a whole series of posts, she takes you through the entire process of how to paint a particular picture, allowing you complete freedom to add what you like and leave out what you don't.

There's no hurry: you can take your time.

Cath taught us how to add acrylic on top of the watercolours...

Mr Modern Country and I sit down most Sunday evenings and have a bit of a painting sesh, reading through Cath's posts and then having a go ourselves. I LOVE our special Sunday evenings together.

See, this blog is even good for relationships!!

It's like having your very own one-to-one session. Oh, wait. It *is* having your very own one-to-one session.

....and then how to use coloured pencils on top of the acrylic.

Tig's White Canvas: Paint With Me currently only has 16 followers and I can't for the life of me understand why.
It's seriously one of the best blogs I know.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

This is Cath's awesome finished picture: yeah, hers gets a frame...

Next Stop, Belgian Style

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Monday 28 March 2011

Book Review: Made In France

Hello, my daffydowndillies.

Yup, that's what the market-man called me last week. I am officially a daffydowndillly. It's a country English word for daffodil. Completely and utterly in my top ten list of words.

Now, I've been promising you a book review
for a wee while and today's the day.
I feel it in my bones.
I pronounce Mondays, Book Days.

{It might last a week, it might last two, who knows? Only time will tell how I succumb to the whims of my blog-thoughts.}

Today's book is
 Made In France:
Cross Stitch and Embroidery
in Red, White and Blue
by Murdoch books.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, are you in for a treat!!  
Look how lovely and thick it is.
176 pages of unadulterated scrumptiousness.

This book is perfectly, and I use the word carefully, styled. Flicking through it is like looking through the pages of your favourite magazine (although not if your favourite is Computer Pro, or Scientific American, I should add...).

I don't know about you but all the books I've tried to find on cross-stitch and embroidery have generally been dated and fuddy-duddy. Bleeeurgh.

I want my craft-books to be enticing and seductive.
I want them to inspire me increase my skills.
 I want them to call me on to a better place.

This is one such book. Oh, it's sooooooo deliciously lovely.

This is the blurb on the back:

A little thread, some linen, a needle, a few easy stitches, and more than 50 pretty projects worked in cross-stitch, stem-stitch or French knots - let yourself be seduced by the simple art of embroidery. Elegant and timeless in red, white and blue, these exquisite needlecraft motifs can be used in a multitude of ways to create unique gifts and home accessories.

Oooooooh, you little temptress you.
Of course, I bought it immediately,
sucked into a whole new world of delightfulness.

And now for the science bit.
Because you're worth it. Ha.

At the start of the book, is the teaching. Clear instructions show you all the stitches and techniques you need to complete the projects. Then the rest of the book is split into three parts: red, white and blue.

The red section has a Scandinavian feel.

The white section is all natural linen with delicate white thread. Pure Modern Country.

And the blue section has a definite beachy vibe.

Each of thesechapters has the pictures of the beautiful projects at the front, styled to the nines, and then the patterns at the back.

The patterns are presented pretty basically, with literally only the odd guiding word but because of the great instructions at the start, this isn't a problem.

In fact, I think it's led me onto wanting to create my own patterns, as I don't feel rigidly bound by following strict instructions.

All in all, this book is a little slice of craft heaven. 

Buy it right now
if you know what's good for you....
see over on my sidebar?
I have a li'l Amazon shop that
you can click straight through to
if you so desire to buy this or
any of the other books I've reviewed

If you're missing your dose of Belgian Style,
Part 3 begins on Wednesday.
See you there, my daffydowndilly.

{Overkill, I know. I can't resist it.}

Oh, and thank you so much to the lovely Le, at Third On The Right for inviting me to chatter on at her blog last week.

All photos: Modern Country Style

I'm linking to my favourite parties listed in the sidebar.

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Wednesday 23 March 2011

Belgian Style for Modern Country Interiors

Quick, quick. The Modern Country tour bus is leaving any second.

Tour bus, you say? What tour bus is that of which you speak?

Well, today I thought I'd take you on a little tour of my home.

You coming? Fantastic!
I was getting lonely all my myself.

Hop on the tour bus, and let's get this baby on the road.

Last time, here at Modern Country Style, we were having a chatteroo about the Belgian look, and how it uses a gorgeous, restricted colour scheme.

{Remember? If not, click here for a quick reminder}

I thought that the easiest way to show you
how I've taken that idea and
tried to make it work in our home is
to show you room by room.

I LOVE the colour scheme that Belgian Style uses: earthy shades of brown, greys, taupes, and off-whites, which draws your eye to the gorgeousness of what lies within the rooms.

But......and it's a biggie......

{Am I the only one now thinking of big butts? I am? Oh....}

....for me, it needs a bit more oomph. Not that I don't love the Belgian interiors I showed you but I prefer rooms where the walls speak to you, as well as the furniture.

I want to notice my walls, not to let them fade into the background.

The greys I've used have a smidgen of green and blue added, can you see? I think it helps to stop these rooms from looking too sombre.....

Sombre is surely never a good look in a boys bedroom....

I've used touches of red throughout the house, as an accent colour.

I love red. So cheery and warm and welcoming.

I completely adore the look that this palette creates.

{Please don't worry if all this talk of palettes confuses you, it's something I want to come back to shortly.}

Guess where I'm off to tomrrow? The Country Living Fair in London with my mum!

{And this time, I'll try to remember my camera. *blush*}

I'm linking to my favourite parties listed in the sidebar.

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Monday 21 March 2011

Belgian Style Part 2: Muted colours

Hello again, rabbits,

How was your weekend? Guess what? We had some fantastic weather yesterday and even went to a friend's barbecue. Yes, a real, live England. Unheard of, I tell you.

I couldn't quite believe I was there. But there I was.

We had such a fun afternoon.

What a heady excitement Friday was with interviewing Christina from Cabbages & Roses. I'd thought really hard about the questions I wanted to ask her and making the post look just right; it was amazing seeing it all come together.

High as a kite, I was. I genuinely thought I would pop.

So...........are you falling in love with Belgian Style too?

Each week, in this series (click to see more posts from the series), I'll break down one element at a time, from what I consider to be the very best of Belgian Style.

{Not literally break down, obviously.
That would be hideously messy and
the Belgians would come after me with sticks.}

And then, if it's okay with you, I'll share how I've tried to incorporate that particular look into our home.

Now, please do remember that while
Belgian Style is totally my current Style Crush,
it's not a look I'd *actually* choose for my home. 
This is about taking aspects of the look and making it work for you.

The series is all about looking at a style
you have a crush on and making it YOUR OWN.
In your house - big or small, old or new.

This week, the design element that I've picked out is.....
muted colour schemes.

Shall we delve in? Shall we? Is a fox sly?

Look at these images? Now, let me see, what about them calls out to me?

I love the relaxed sense of calm:

 the mood of languid loveliness
that this palette creates.

White, cream, grey, brown and black.
And that's it.

So restricted, and I like that.

I'm not sure I'd like *just* that in our house but I love this
selection of colours as a starting point.

Now, do you fancy seeing how I've taken this concept of a restrained palette and applied it to our renovation?

Drop by again and,
if I think you've been good,
I'll give you a peep.

{Ha! As if you'd be anything but good.......right?}

Images via: Cassan Versa, Maison Boheme, Drummonds, Belle Inspriations, The White Company, Dan Mayers Photography, Molly Frey, Anthracite, unknown, unknown, House To Home, 25 Beautiful Homes

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Thursday 17 March 2011

Interview With Christina Strutt from Cabbages and Roses

Hey peeps,

Today, I'd love to welcome Christina from the delectable Cabbages and Roses for a chat at Modern Country Style. Why don't you come on in and join us?

Your eye for beautiful patterns is incredible. What do you look for when choosing fabric for a room you're designing?

It entirely depends on the room and the situation - for instance, if I were decorating the sitting room in my tiny flat in London, the thing that must be taken into consideration is the fact that there is only one room to express one's taste. If I want to make a statement, the pattern will be bold but calm, interesting and have the ability to change character with the addition of different furnishings. The wallpaper in the flat is a very large patterned lilac print which is at the same time calm but definitely a statement. The furnishings and furniture and ornaments can completely change the atmosphere. Black framed paintings hung in a dramatic way can make this a grand room, but with large old faded grey framed mirrors, or flaking white paint makes the room light and Scandinavian. Taste changes with the times, but something classic and beautiful will hold its own for a long time.

Can you describe some of the activities that your typical working week might involve?

Doing interviews such as this, probably three or four a week. Designing fashion collections is an ongoing job, fitting the clothes, finding the fabrics, discussing designs with pattern cutters, many many meetings covering all aspects of the business: the shops, the concessions, their design, visiting the shops and concessions, the collections of home and fabric, the website, the blog, the photography and the locations, the models. New shops, licencing all over the world, discussing designs for our new shop in Tokyo (that was yesterday!!)

What is your idea of a perfect room.

Large sash windows with beautifully-made lined and interlined curtains on painted poles. A room of perfect symmetry overlooking a beautifully kept garden. At least two of the windows would have a window seat covered in cushions. Two or three large sofas covered in faded roses. A hand made rug of pale pinks and green roses. A large fireplace with logs burning in the grate. The walls covered in paintings and pictures. Bookshelves filled with all the books I want to read, none that I haven't hand-picked. A large round table in the corner with  a lovely lamp and piles of books, covered in a beautifully made round and heavy tablecloth. Lamps and tables at every station so wherever you sit you will be comfortable, can read a book and have a place for your cup of tea. Then I would fill it with my family.

What is the process of creating a new fabric from scratch?

We look at current collections and see what we don't have, possibly it is a small design that would work in the same room as a present large design. It could be as simple as having a co ordinating check, so that there would be relief in a room with a lot of the same design. Often fabrics are based on a vintage scrap, so I would very roughly draw the rest of the repeat and then hand over to our designers who can do a much better job than I can with my pencils and watercolours.

(Credit: Lucinda Symons)

I devoured your chapter in At Home With Country about Modern Country style, what are your thoughts for using your fabrics to create modern country interiors?

I like to think that our fabrics will fit in anywhere. It seems to me that modern can be interpreted in many ways. My interpretation of modern is minimal - in which case the idea of a large loft apartment with a modern shaped sofa and large empty spaces, with one large floral cushion would be lovely. We are introducing a heavily floral print this summer which would work beautifully in a modern environment. Keeping to one pattern in a sea of plains in my mind is quite modern. Any one of our prints used sparsely would I think be modern.

What are your dreams for the future of Cabbages and Roses?

To be more available throughout the world, we are opening a shop this month in Tokyo the first, I hope of many. We are hoping to expand in the UK and also in America.

{The awful events in Japan have prevented us from getting there for the opening next week – it’s the most tragic thing to see such devastating and wide spread turmoil. Luckily all of the team out there are ok, but out thoughts and prayers are with the whole nation. It is a testament to the strength of the Japanese people and their culture by how they are coping and we are keenly watching and hoping that things will be ok.

We are working on a fund raising effort from all of our online sales, so keep an eye out for how you can help – we aim to push it out this week and will keep everyone posted on our emails, blog and facebook.

xx C&R }

Thank you so much, Christina. It's been SUCH a pleasure talking to you and trying to squeeze every last drop of inspiration from each word you've said.

All images, other than 6 and 7, via Cabbages and Roses

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