Beasts, bedlam and Bethlehem. (How to plan to do it differently next year).

Day Twelve

There was an Animal Farm style revolt in the Price household today even before breakfast.

It was the cold water that got us in the end. The lack of lighting we could overcome (phone torch) and though the toilet doesn't flush, you can throw a bucket of bleach and hot water down it of a morning and it seems to do the trick. But we were clinging onto the trickle of a warm shower as our little bit of hope in a bleak, broken bathroom which cannot be mended or replaced until the kitchen is finished and funds replenished. And this morning that trickle ran cold. We were bereft of our most basic creature comforts and we crumbled.

We're only maybe a week away from a fully functioning kitchen. Today the missing units were fitted, the utility room kitted out and the worktops measured and ordered. But man it can't come soon enough. I feel like we are being taught a valuable lesson in appreciation, like the patron saint of utilities (possibly my Gran) is looking down on us and saying, "I hope you know what lucky beasts you actually are." We do now.

Today was also Nativity day, emotional at the best of times, but today I couldn't take it. Oh God it was good. Mary had her baby, despite being told there wasn't a bed (never mind bathroom facilities) The farm animals learned to share their humble stable peacefully and despite everyone's difficult journey, they all had a very Merry Christmas. 

And with that I think I'll hit the hay and dream about where to hang my Evermade family zoo portraits like the ones above. It's the last day of school tomorrow (gulp) and I've still got shed loads to do to get ready for Christmas. Evermade must have sensed unrest in the camp for they sent organisational back up in the form of a 2018 planner. Not only is it the prettiest colours, but it's got little foil stickers to mark on special dates and notes to self like "never EVER fit a kitchen before Christmas," and that kind of thing. Genius. Thank you Evermade, from all of the herd.

Claire xx

2018 year planner £10 by  www.evermade.co.uk

2018 year planner £10 by www.evermade.co.uk

My Mate, Matisse and My House Candy

In what is a retail first for me, last weekend I made a shopkeeper very happy for not paying for something. 

I tried, but he wouldn't let me. Jeez, maybe this 80 year old antiques dealer has mistaken me for that other celebrity blogger with the 30 million followers and the power to catapult his little backstreet shop into the Sunday papers, I thought. Is this what winning the Interior Blog Awards could do for me? (vote here to find out)

Here's what actually happened.

Edward, who looks like a mad scientist (and if he hasn't discovered the essence of eternal youth, has definitely found the secret to eternal happiness) runs a small antiques shop in the North Yorkshire village of Knaesborough and has done for the past 40 years.

In it, I'd found and set aside various old bits of furniture, an emerald glass tea set, some odd bits and bobs that were gathering dust on windowsills and on my last scoot around, checking I hadn't missed any unmistakeable House Candy, I pointed at this picture. 

"Do you like it?" he asked. 

"Great colours", I said, because I was still deciding if I did or not.

"It's pastels", he said, "It will smudge if you take the glass off. It's in the style of Matisse."

"I know," I said, feeling rather smug. I did art at A level, I remembered loving working with pastels and the satisfaction of manipulating the chalky colours with my fingers and thumbs. And I totally recognised the fluid shapes and merging figures of the French impressionist. There looked to be several couples cavorting in this scene. In fact, it looked like there was a lot of love (and maybe a bit of acid) in the subject room and I suspect Edward could have provided further background to the scene had I pressed him on it.

"How much?" I asked, a question which cracks a smile with most salesman, but which initiated an ear to ear grin on 80 year old Edward. He nudged me and with a wink replied,

"You can have it," and he proudly took it down from the wall.

"I did it myself, many years ago and it's been up in my attic. My wife told me I had to have a clear out so it won't be such a big job for everyone when I die. I'm ready to die you know, I won't mind." He said quickly, in case I should feel at all sorry for him. 

He clambered down his steps, refusing help and all the time regarding his work and muttering about the special times he spent painting with his son. When he got to the point of writing me out a paper receipt for my other items (the bit he likes best apparently), he added:

"It's been on the wall a few weeks now and you are the first person to show an interest."

I like being that person that paid an interest in Edward's artwork. I like that this picture makes me want to pick up a box of pastels and make my own art - something I haven't done since I passed my A level. And I really like Edward for still feeling the buzz when someone appreciates his work.

Edward rocks and so does my new, acid coloured pastel on paper. I'm calling it "Party On Edward". And I know he totally will. 

Thank you so much if you have voted for me already in the Interior Blog Awards Best Design Inspiration category. I'm sorry for going on about it but I really have absolutely no chance in this phenomenally tough category if I don't big myself up, like 10 million times. In fact, I'm the Edward in a category full of Matisse's. I'm just hoping you'll be the one who notices me.

Happy Weekend all,

Claire x

 

Ikea, the Vogue squad & me - The Candy Files

The Candy Files; What's hot, what's not and what's what at my place. This week:

House Candy = Gallery Walls

Mosslander Picture Ledge £8.50  Ikea

Mosslander Picture Ledge £8.50 Ikea

I'm lethal with a hammer. I get the urge to put up some pictures and before you know it there's a wham, bam, thank you mam style of holy crap carnage going on.

So when I framed a whole set of 10 vintage Vogue magazine covers this week, my husband hid the tool box. He knows, as deep down so do I, that lining up two rows of five perfectly straight pictures is not in my DNA. (And DIY is definitely not in his) 

Hurrah then for Ikea who yes, once again, have come up with a genius quick fix solution to creating an oh-so-ofthemoment interior trend. Of course they have addressed the gallery wall situation with their usual amount of affordable chic, that has you slapping your forehead in a WHY-DIDN'T-I-THINK-OF-THAT stylie. This unassuming little picture ledge is the result:

Mosslander Picture ledge with built in groove!

Mosslander Picture ledge with built in groove!

Valkommen to my life Mosslander, the ready to fix picture rail that allows me to go framed print mental whenever I like and without the need for hammer, nails or subsequent marital unrest.

Watch this space as these fancy flapper girls prepare to strut their stuff, Scandinavian style on my walls.

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Fine and Candy = Gallery Goals

Vogue 100  exhibition National Portrait Gallery, London

Vogue 100 exhibition National Portrait Gallery, London

My life plan de-railed when, aged 21, I took the first job offered to me at a Leeds PR firm instead of pursuing my dream to write for glossy magazines in London. Damn.

But one happy marriage, countless suburban school runs and a house I could never afford in the smoke later - and I promise I'm not bitter. Whilst the career goals may be in the gutter, the magazine obsession is still very much alive and I'm super giddy to be nurturing that love this weekend at the Vogue 100 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, which runs until 22nd May.

You know, I don't often pat myself on the back, but when I picked up the book of vintage Vogue covers (framed above) for £2 at a second hand market back in January I was a bit smug. Smugness turned to euphoria when I learned that it was Vogue Magazine's centenary year and they were marking the occasion with  an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery featuring 280 prints from the hallowed Conde Nast archive. The collection tells the story of one of the most influential fashion magazines of all time and for me, a bible of style, glamour and a life just that little bit out of reach. (It's true, an extra four inches would have made all the difference). 

With any luck, the compulsory trip to the museum shop afterwards will see me adding to my collection of Vogue cover drawings with some examples of their iconic fashion photography too. Get ready for overload my new picture ledge friend. 

Candy Pandy = Gallery Silence

le-silence

le-silence

I'm not sure how to put this without sounding a) desperate or b) unprofessional. Here goes: You couldn't drop me a comment from time to time could you? It would make all the difference to this blog if we could "reach out" to one another a bit more. It's a phrase I loathe but a feeling I love. Call me needy but I just want to hear what you like, what you don't like, what makes you click so that I can keep improving this creative space and turn it into one awesome little gallery of interior ideas worth shouting about. 

Make some noise people! And have a super fun week in the process.

Claire x

 

Beg, Borrow, Steal: Plates

I like the idea that walls have ears. My walls are 150 years old and I bet they could tell me some right gossip. So when I saw this gorgeous display of plates bearing curious Alice-in-Wonderland bunny ears at Decorex International, I knew the rumours were true: Plates are big news for wall decorations this year.

Walls have ears display by  Petit Friture  at Decorex International 

Walls have ears display by Petit Friture at Decorex International 

Beg, Borrow and Steal is my new feature about working an interiors trend at all levels of budget. Bored of canvas prints and black frames? Well here’s how you can serve up some serious style points using plates.

Beg:

Fornasetti plates From £125  www.selfridges.co.uk

Fornasetti plates From £125 www.selfridges.co.uk

I was wowed by a wall of eery looking Fornasetti portrait plates on a recent stay at The Lowry hotel in Manchester. Eating your dinner with 36 pairs of porcelain eyes fixed on you can be a tad off putting. But if you’re looking for a feature wall to make you stare, these are the plates to start collecting.

Fornasetti wall plate £225  Liberty of London

Fornasetti wall plate £225 Liberty of London

At £225 each, these gold detailed ones are going to require some serious begging. But I’m putting it to The Purse Strings that he may want to consider buying me one plate each for my birthday, Christmas, wedding anniversary and Valentines Day throughout the course of next year. By the time I’ve got enough to call it a collection, their value may well have doubled. Free financial advice? ... you are most welcome.

Fornasetti Gold tone ceramic wall plate no 37  www.liberty.co.uk

Fornasetti Gold tone ceramic wall plate no 37 www.liberty.co.uk

Borrow 

This is the bit where I ‘borrow' from another era to show you how a bit of savvy salvage shopping can save you a fortune. Retro designs always do it for me and I picked up these 50s style dinner plates from an independent vintage homewares and gift shop a few years ago. These are actually modern Kimono plates by quirky design team freckle designs and though a full set would make the coolest dinner service, this twosome in my dining room will have to do for now. 

IMG_0578.JPG

OK I hear you. This is way too safe to qualify for the Quirky Plates on Walls award so I’ve been on the hunt for something a bit more out there. How’s this?

Prince Primate is so darn cool he’s nailing three trends in one. I’ve told you before that monkeys are the new flamingos, right?. Art alternation is also scoring big points in the interiors world with the likes of Abigail Ahern (yes her again) coveting a range of graffitid portraits in her sell out accessory collections. Well this is the same thing in plate format. Genius Etsy artists Beat Up Creations give vintage plates an uber- cool update. This Plates + Primates + Art Alteration = one hell of an interior fashion hat-trick in my book. 

Look away if you’re in my fashion obsessed #girlsquad as Taylor Swift would say. Santa is going to need a whole load of bubble wrap to deliver this year’s Christmas shopping...

BFFs Lucinda and Hazel by Beat Up Creations £33.08  www.etsy.co.uk

BFFs Lucinda and Hazel by Beat Up Creations £33.08 www.etsy.co.uk

Steal

And finally, this is the section where I show you a high street steal - Or an on-trend bargain that’s not on the high street, as the case may be.

You can have your pick of super cute messages spelt out on these ceramic plates for only £14.95 by A Piece Of Art at www.notonthehighstreet.co.uk … which means that with the plates trend, walls can have ears, eyes and a big mouth too :) 

Fornasetti plate £125  www.selfridges.co.uk

Fornasetti plate £125 www.selfridges.co.uk

Have a great week all. Want to spread some interior rumours of your own? If you could drop me a line that would be smashing.