Abigail Borg

Abigail Borg is an illustrator and surface pattern designer with a love for hand drawn design. Her designs are all based on nature and beautiful botanicals:

My style is unique and takes unusual flowers and plants and uses them as a backdrop to provide colourful patterns. The beauty of illustrated botanicals cannot be denied and it is what sets my designs apart from the rest. My designs are hand drawn, intricate, highly detailed and above all an intimate portrait of the chosen plant or flower. From something so delicate comes a robust and useful home textile which is luxurious and beautiful.

Last Christmas, I asked my sister, Juliette, to buy me some Abigail Borg cushions for my stripy sofa after seeing them in Liberty.  Lots of people comment on them because they are a little piece of art in themselves. I was instantly attracted by the deep, rich colours and bold, beautiful designs. I would love to paper a room in one of Abigail’s gorgeous wallpapers, or upholster a chair with one of her fabrics. Have a look…

Abigail Borg Polka Polka cushion

The gorgeous colours and hydrangea design of my Polka Polka cushion.

Abigail Borg Fritti cushion | Apartment Apothecary

All of Abgail’s designs seem to work together. I love the combination of my striped sofa, Polka Polka cushion and Fritti cushion.

Mr Chrysanth floral Wallpaper Abigail Borg

Gorgeous Mr Chrysanth wallpaper.

Abigail Borg Polka Polka wallpaper

My favourite design – Polka Polka wallpaper. I really like the complementary woodwork.

Abigail Borg Orange Fox wallpaper

I love the colours of the  Orange Fox fabric.

Abigail Borg floral cushions

Choose from a selection of beautifully made cushions that are made from a linen mix.

Which is your favourite print? X

Puppy love

So, I couldn’t resist. I just couldn’t. I have to show you photos of Otto, our ten week old Golden Retriever puppy, although I have combined the photos with a bit of sewing – kind of.

We collected him three weeks ago and the first week was a complete nightmare as he was really sick – let’s just say we may need to replace our carpet. No, seriously. However, he is completely better now and as cute as a button, but as naughty as can be!

Golden retriever puppy

On the morning we collected him, asleep in the back of the car. Such an exciting day.

I want to make him lots of things, but at this age, you just know that everything will be eaten in no time at all. However, I am going to make him a cushion and a bed. I bought a maternity ‘V’ shaped cushion as I thought this was the perfect shape so he could nestle into the middle of it (he loves to nestle). The pillow itself was very cheap and comes with its own slip, which can be used as a pattern. I had some beautiful wool (far too nice for a dog) that I decided to use (because I’m a sucker for a puppy).

Golden retriever puppy cushion

Just three weeks later and he is twice the size. This is the cushion inner. I used the slip it came with to make a pattern for a new cover.

How to make a dog cushion

I tried to sew tough seams to deal with puppy teeth.

How to make a dog cushion

The cushion has an envelope end so it can be slipped on and off for washing.

Golden retriever puppy on cushion

He genuinely loves it.

How to make a dog cushion

I can’t bear how sweet he is.

Andrex puppy

But then he turns around and does this.

Andrex puppy

And he thinks it’s hilarious.

Next on the list is a dog bed, which will be another excuse for more photos. Sorry!

 

 

Letterpress drawers

On a weekend away on the Isle of Wight, we came across such a lovely antique shop/scrap yard hidden away down a country lane. We spent hours rifling through great finds and all at such good prices, which is more and more rare these days. I spotted a letterpress drawer (although I didn’t know it was that at the time) that was a bit mouldy and damp but that I could see would make a great display case for all my tiny knick-knacks. It cost £4, so I snapped it up. I took it home, treated it for woodworm and gave it a really good clean and added loops on the back, so it could be hung on the wall.

I love the fact that I can store all my teeny tiny trinkets in it, as these are the things that often get shoved to the back of a drawer, never to be seen again. It adds character and a story to my sitting room, as each object has a memory attached.

Vintage letter press drawers

I use my letter press drawer to display all my little knick knacks that I’ve collected since I was a child. Photograph by Peachey Photography.

Vintage letter press drawers and antique terrarium

I think the drawer adds real depth in place of a picture.

Antique vintage letter press drawers

Letterpress drawers date back to the Printing Press. Each drawer has small compartments where a letter block was stored.

Since finding my letter press drawer, I have seen lots of different ways that they can be used that I would like to share with you today…

Letter press drawers used as jewellery storage

Add hooks to make this great jewellery case.

Letter press drawers used as a desk tidy

A desk tidy.

Letter press drawers used to store children's toys

Decorate with wrapping paper and store children’s toys in it.

Letter press drawers used to make a table

Cover with glass to make a coffee table – with the added bonus all your trinkets won’t get dusty.

Letter press drawers used to hold cotton reels

Cotton reel holder.

Letter press drawers hung over bed

A simple, yet striking, display case.

If you want to buy your own letter press drawer search eBay for either: letterpress drawers, letterpress printers case, printers type case, printers drawers or printers tray. If you find one that is cheaper than the rest because it looks old and dirty, it really doesn’t take much to bring it back to life!

 

 

Modern Victorian home

I long for a period home. I was brought up in a Victorian house and this has influenced my love of Victorian architecture and period features: fireplaces, cornicing, ceiling roses, original floorboards, sash windows, tiled hallway, brass door knobs, free-standing bath, the list goes on. In my childhood home there was even an original spiral staircase that led from the first floor down to the garden – absolutely beautiful. In fact, it got to the point where my university friends secretly nick-named me Victorian Katy. Seriously.

If you are lucky enough to live in a home with original period features, for some it can be difficult to resist the urge to renovate to try to make everything look and feel ‘new’ again. However, this can remove a lot of the character of a house. I would like to show you a very sympathetic and careful renovation of a London Victorian house that has been brought back to life in such a way that none of the character has been lost, yet it has gained clean, simple lines and a fresh feel…

Victorian house with original period features and tiled hallway

Typically, Victorian houses have narrow, awkward hallways. By painting everything white and removing carpet from the stairs, the owners have made this hallway feel as spacious as possible.

Victorian house with original period features and period built-in dresser

They have retained the original built-in dresser, which usually gets ripped out in favour of a fitted kitchen. However, it adds such character and is the perfect place to show off vintage kitchen finds.

Victorian house with original period features and vintage kitchen

In the kitchen the floorboards have been painted white, which always gives a feeling of light and space. They have lost none of the charm of a typical free-standing kitchen by using fabric instead of cupboard doors. This makes you think it is not a fitted kitchen, when actually it is. The addition of the vintage trolley and weighing scales adds character.

Victorian house with original period features and conservatory

The addition of a conservatory gives much needed space but they have retained the original garden doors and used wood cladding on the on the wall to add character.

Victorian house with original period features and painted floorboards in hallway

Painted floorboards and white walls run throughout the house, which gives it a more modern feel.

Victorian house with orignal period features and vintage bedroom

In the bedroom all of the character is maintained but it has none of the dark, heavy colours associated with Victoriana. Removing heavy curtains from the windows adds to the fresh, clean lines.

Victorian house with orignal period features and vintage bathroom

I love this pretty bathroom. It is completely practical, clean and simple, yet clever touches add a vintage feel: the mirrors, lace panel, light shade and the wood cladding bath panel. The sink is also a clever addition; a modern sink has been installed on a vintage table with a fabric curtain. This adds style, yet remains practical.

Victorian home with original period features and vintage nursery

More painted floorboards, no heavy curtains and another clever sink unit make this a Victorian room with all the practicalities a child needs.

Victorian home with original period features and vintage nursery and hooks

All this home needs is a cosy sitting room. I love it: modern, clutter-free and all the clean lines you could want, combined with orignal period features and a load of Victorian charm. What’s your favourite architectural style? x

 

The Amazings

What are The Amazings?

“They are billed the Amazings: a band of men and women fighting against the idea that older people should go quietly towards the dying of the light.” (The Independent)

Sound interesting? Well, it is.  The Amazings is a company that has been set up to provide classes, courses and wisdom from elders with amazing life experience. What a great concept. You can either go to a very reasonably priced course run by an elder, or you can join an online class that includes video tutorials led by the elder that you can follow from the comfort of your own home. You also have the ability to email questions, if you have any. There are many different crafts to choose from: heirloom quilting, woodwork, photography, French bread making, story-telling, up-cycling, book binding – the list is endless!

”There’s nothing better than learning from someone who has a lifetime of experience, sharing shortcuts that you won’t find in most books or websites, and dropping in little stories that make the learning experience really special.” (Adil Abrar – Co-Founder of The Amazings)

My grandmother was very good at sewing and small upholstery projects; I really wish I had made the most of her experience and learnt from her, but sadly she died before I realised my love of crafts. I think that’s one of the reasons I like the concept so much.

Amazing elder – Josefina

The Amazings team very kindly granted me access to their online classes to try one out. I chose the ‘Make your own mosaics flower pot’ online class with Amazing elder, Josefina. Josefina has been making tile mosaics for nearly thirty years and is a lifelong artist originally from Barcelona, the home of Gaudi, King of mosaics. With so much experience, Josefina was bound to know the tips and techniques that standard instructions don’t give you. The class was broken up into four episodes that lasted for twenty minutes in total. The fact that the class was broken into four clear steps was very helpful as when you are crafting it is important to be able to plan ahead. Josefina’s passion and energy shone through in the videos, which in itself was inspiring and being able to see each step made the project so much easier. She also added humour and stories that made it fun and relaxed.

“…gives over 50s the chance to do something they enjoy while ensuring old traditions and skills don’t die out.” (Daily Mail)

This type of learning suits me down to the ground as beginning new projects or learning new crafts can be a bit daunting; being able to watch the process and someone talking you through the stages with enthusiasm made the process really enjoyable. It is not often that you have access to someone with such vast experience and I love the fact that if you have problems you can contact them and ask questions directly.

I’m in the middle of making my pot – it’s one of those crafts that you can do slowly and in stages if you want to, which I find very relaxing….

How to make a mosaic tiled pot

Loved the smashing up tiles bit!

How to make a mosaic tiled flower pot

I have started to arrange where I want my tile pieces to be. For my first attempt I haven’t chosen a complicated design but once I’ve learnt how to do it properly I will be able to be really creative. The grouting comes next.

How to make a mosaic flower pot

I’ve got a long way to go before I reach Josefina’s level – look at this amazing pot she made The Amazings team.

I will share my finished pot next week.

Share and share alike

When you sign up to The Amazings website, you get three classes that you can share with friends and family for free. Check out my Twitter page and Facebook page as I have unlimited classes to share for free with you!

 

Such an inspiring organisation…make sure you check it out. A big thank you to The Amazings team x