Monday 29 April 2013

Vintage Gardens: Modern Country Style Loves

Oh, sunshine, how I love you. You make feel all skippity again when you peek through those pesky clouds that have been dominating of late.

This warm weather has had our whole family dashing outside to play, sit and work in our lovely garden. I have my seeds bought and my seedlings at the ready. Are you gearing up for some planting-action too?!

Today, I wanted to share these images of Vintage-style gardens. It's a look that's hard not to fall for: the blend of older, well-loved pieces, especially when mixed with pretty country fabrics is a positively heady combination.

If this look is one that gets your heart beating faster then stay tuned for my review of an utterly fabulicious book coming up next on Modern Country Style! 

Ooooh, you're going to LOVE it!!

Now, trowels at the ready....?

Images via: House To Home, The Master Garden Decorations, World Of Vintage Pearl, Flickr, Modern Country Style

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Friday 26 April 2013

The most romantic picture in the world ever?

Hey pretty poppetts,

Not following on from anything at all, this photo was crying out to be shared. Isn't it super-duper rooooomantic?

Here's to a weekend filled with warm sunshine, country escapes and exciting, happy long-lasting love....

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Wednesday 24 April 2013

Patrick Grant: The Modern Country Gentleman:

Patrick Grant has been one of the rather unexpected stars of The Great British Sewing Bee. 

Here is a man cut from a different cloth to that of the usual run-of-the-mill males we are dully presented with by the media, and I think those differences are to be celebrated. Smart, well-spoken and eloquent. Here he is in action:

I heard some rather exciting news the other day: Patrick Grant is to launch his own menswear collection for Debenhams in the autumn called Hammond and Co by Patrick Grant. See what you think:

Patrick has been quoted as saying:

"We have worked hard to ensure the synonymous cut [of Saville Row tailoring], subtle flair and the perfect proportion is present through every piece."

The collection will consist of 70 pieces for men who want a classic, yet contemporary look. I'm liking the look very much indeed. 

Country fashion but with a Modern twist.

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Monday 22 April 2013

Why You Should Be Watching The Great British Sewing Bee

I think I am actually in love with The Great British Sewing Bee currently airing on BBC. Here are my top five (of a billion gazillion) reasons why YOU should be watching.... 

1) The camaraderie of the contestants is heart-warming. 
They're all such a mixed bag but somehow all so likable. There's none of the sniping you get with The Apprentice (though plenty of snipping - hoho!). A perfect example of how ambition doesn't need to be undercut with rudeness. Ever.

2) The skills on show will get you whipping out your sewing machine. 
The sewers get a very limited time frame to fulfil the tasks so, as viewers, there's no waiting around, twiddling our thumbs. The action is fast-paced and tense....but soooooo inspirational. Yep, I've hauled out my sewing machine more times in the last month than in the last year. My head is positively abuzz with ideas.

3)The set is heavenly. 
Oh, the set is just bee-autiful {geddit?!}. The show is shot in a converted house in the City of London and has been styled to perfection along an industrial-country vein. Low-hanging metal lights. The muted colours of the Modern Country Style cupboards. Lots of white. Every angle of the camera picks up new delicious details.

4)The judges are lovely.
May and Patrick absolutely know their crafts. Whether its how thick a French seam should be or how the weight of a fabric will affect the final look of piece, their comments give you a whole new perspective on clothes-design.

5) The final is TOMORROW!!!

Truly, what's not to like?

Image 3 via Tilly And The Buttons, all others via BBC

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Wednesday 17 April 2013

Introducing Etsy's best kept secret...Free-Motion-Embroidered Home Pictures

There are so many of you gorgeously talented people out there. It constantly astounds me. Please hear me when I give a big shout-out to you all:

Modern Country Style salutes you!

Let's take a look at one such girlie who, in my opinion, is one of Etsy's best-kept secrets. I'd like to introduce you to Shabby Chic Sarah! Sarah creates free-motion embroideries of homes...THEY ARE INCREDIBLE! {Email Sarah for cost details.}

Sarah is a total whizz at free-motion embroidery and has an amazing eye for transferring the details of an image to collage form. She has - hurrah - agreed to let me interview her about her business. 

Sarah, you know how much I adore your work. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
Hi! I take orders for custom free motion embroideries of houses. These make fabulous gifts for new home owners or just a lasting keepsake of your home.

Your pictures are stunning. How do you even begin to put together such amazingness? What is the starting point?

Thank you! I need a clear photo of the front-on view of your house and if you can see it on Google Street View then the address would be good too, as I can sometimes get a better angle on things.

{Ahem...I went mad and sent about five photos!}

 Once I get your photo, I make a sketch, check with you you're happy and then start cutting and sewing, working from your photos and also Google Street View to draw a sketch of your home, picking out all the distinctive details.

How do you choose which fabrics to use?
I ask my customers to let me know any colours they'd like (or dislike) and then I cut fabric pieces to make the basic shape of their home - I use quality fabrics including Cath Kidston; Tilda; Tanya Whelan and vintage.

How do you put these incredible works of art together?
I freehand-embroider the fabric to the background using my machine. The picture is created by using the needle to free hand draw the details on to the fabric. I add smaller details such as the windows, drainpipes and so on and then it is time to add some hand embroidery in the form of flowers, trees and bunting.

What makes your pictures unique to you?

I love to ask customers about any "imaginary touches" they'd like, such as bunting, pretty flowers in planters, etc - it's often these that make a portrait. I can add "fantasy" touches (that are not really there on your real home) - window boxes, wisteria or rambling roses, picket fences and so on - use your imagination!! 

How do you finish the pieces?

I carefully pad and frame the work and it is ready to grace your wall. Frame-wise, the ones I use are plain and come in oak, black, white, and pewter (which looks between silver and gold).

Thank you so much, lovely Sarah...I am over the moon with my home picture and it is hugely admired by everyone who sees it. 

I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did! Sarah interpreted my ideas, as well as our home, in such a super-special way (for the record, I asked for muted colours with a bluey-grey background and my make-believe elements included the roses around the door and the bunting) - hasn't she done an awesome job?!. She makes completely unique and utterly lovely keepsakes. If you'd like your very own embroidered picture then you can email Sarah here or contact her via her blog.

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Monday 8 April 2013

Plant Pots And Garden Treats.

Are you the kind of person that loves growing their own - flowers or veggies or fruit - then you are going to want to look at this...

Would you like to make your very own plant pots from newspaper? They're quick, they're easy and they're fun - not to mention incredibly environmentally friendly, as your creations can be planted straight into your garden, where they will rot away in the soil. Perfect! 

Come on over to the Relics blog where I'll be waiting for you and explaining, step-by-step, how to make them.

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Friday 5 April 2013

Can You Have Gorgeous Bare-Look Windows AND Privacy? YES!!

I came across the image below the other day and fell instantly and madly in love. I knew I had to share it with you right away, particularly because we've been talking about window treatments. Isn't the room gorgeous? It's hard to know where to begin in highlighting the feature I like best.

Should it be the wispily soft gentle grey-green of the walls, which is dark enough to provide contrast with the white woodwork but not so dark that the warm effect of the timber is lost? {Try Farrow and Ball's Pigeon for a similar effect.} Might it be the rich brown of the curved chest of drawers? The soft light filtering through the wooden Venetian blind? Or the brickwork in the fireplace left raw, providing lovely contrast with the sparkle of the mirror above? 

A perfectly Modern Country room in every way, don't you agree? Ooh, simply scrumptious.

Now, in the last post, we were talking about leaving windows untreated. Most of us agreed in the comments section that there is a time and a place for leaving windows bare. The window needs to be particularly gorgeous, the view to-die-for and the room needs a strong industrial feel.

But even if all these heavenly ingredients are in place, there will still be times when a little bit of privacy is called for. Curtains seem wrong, wrong, wrong in some spaces - too fussy, somehow, and too attention-grabbing. We need an option that is eye-candy perfect but subtly and stealthily so. And that is where wooden Venetian blinds step into the limelight. These don't have to be hugely expensive (in fact, after a quick snoop, I've just spotted that Blinds Supermarket currently have 80% off their bespoke range).

Simple, beautiful and low-key when pulled down, and, when raised, wooden Venetian blinds disappear into thin air.

Letting your lovely room sing for itself.

{Cue angelic choirs.}

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Tuesday 2 April 2013

Industrial Style Dining Room

This week, we'll be focussing on windows....

Let's start here:

The dining room is absolutely stunning. Feast your eyes on that enormous mirror, the magnificent table and those white chairs which soften the whole scheme.

I love the industrial feel of this space. The bare rick, the steel girders and the double (or is it triple?) height room.....BUT, I'll get to the point, what do you think about the undressed windows?

Yes, NAKED is what they are!


The question on my mind is this: do all dining rooms needs some kind of window treatment...even if they are not overlooked?

Image via: Nicety

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