• Archive for June, 2011

    HOT SHOP: Flora Dora

    by  • Wednesday, June 15, 2011 • Decorating and interiors, Lovely websites, News, Stylish shopping • 8 Comments

    I’ve stumbled across a real gem today. Flora Dora is a brand new mail order shop, selling previously unseen archive prints from the late textile designer Sheila Bownas, whose career stretched from the 1940s to the 1980s. Her wonderful 50s, 60s, and 70s designs are vibrant, colourful, gorgeous – and still very relevant today…

    Sheila studied at Skipton Art School in 1941, then worked as a textile and wallpaper designer in London in the late 1950s and 1960s – during which time she painted wallpapers for the German firm ‘PW Bruck-Messel’. After a stint drawing botanical diagrams for the Natural History Museum, she returned to Yorkshire in later life and lived for many years in a cottage near Skipton, until her death in 2007. Sheila was a modest person and her relatives were amazed to find she had left behind a large collection of unseen patterns and paintings in a dusty drawer…

    Two years ago, Rugby-based photographer, art gallery curator and mum-preneur, Chelsea Cefai, picked up the entire archive at an auction and, together with her husband, decided to share the designs with the world in a sympathetic way. Sheila’s family has been very involved with the whole process and, despite conversations with large companies such as Graham & Brown and Osborne & Little, the couple decided to keep things small-scale. Flora Dora was born.

    There are 200 designs in the archive, but just two collections have been released so far, ‘1959’ and ‘1963’. This is a truly British venture; the cushion covers are sewn by Chelsea herself, the stunning art prints are produced in Birmingham, and the fabric is produced just 20m a time in a London workshop.

    Got a vintage chair that needs re-covering? These fabrics are perfect! Mmmm, check out the ‘Loretta’ fabric on the Ercol studio couch.

    Flora Dora also sells mid-century modern ceramics and retro tableware. Keep your eyes on the website; Chelsea tells me new collections will be released on a regular basis. I’m completely and utterly smitten. How wonderful to discover such a treasure trove stashed in a drawer. – Ellie

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    NEW Muji buys

    by  • Tuesday, June 14, 2011 • Craft, Lovely websites, News, Stylish shopping • 5 Comments

    Ah, Muji. Land of little orderly Japanese plastic bottles for decanting things in to and elegant bamboo bowls in organised, regimental rows. This is the kind of shop I’d love to be tidy enough to shop in. For scatty hoarders such as myself, it represents an unachievable, minimalist dream; The sensible yet stylish slippers, the elegant storage solutions, the useful but chic travel accessories. Everything neat and lovely. Just walking through the shop door makes me feel calm and organised! Of course, the stationery is always a highlight, as anybody who has collected the 3D box city skyline cards will know. Check out these new postcards from Muji – £3.50 for three. They’re blank and covered with transparent sticky film, so you can create your own personalised cards using souvenirs picked up on your travels such as maps, flowers and tickets. O to the M to the G.

    I also love the new aeroplane and bus envelope and card sets from Muji, which have little windows for you to draw your own passengers in…

    You could even cut out a small photo of a friend’s face, then cut out their favourite celebs from magazines and create a personalised A-list VIP birthday flight! This could work well with kids’ favourite cartoon characters, too, or the faces of your whole family at Christmas? Oooooh, the possibilities are endless! I also like this cute clock memo pad from the new range:

    Does anybody know what this memo says? Answers on a (preferably personalised) postcard, please. – Ellie

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    NEW 'Vintage' Crown paints

    by  • Thursday, June 9, 2011 • Decorating and interiors, Lovely websites, News, Stylish shopping • 6 Comments

    Today, Crown has launched a new paint range called Vintage, in association with Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway. It’s a collection of 30 matt emulsions and will be sold in Homebase later this month (for £22.99 per 2.5l) coinciding neatly with the upcoming Vintage at Goodwood (well, actually it’s now at Southbank, London, cough) festival and the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain. The colours are ‘inspired by music, fashion, film, art and design from the 1940s to the 1980s’ – I like their retro, groovy names such as ‘Chelsea Girl’ and ‘Free Love’, maan.

    Here’s the 1970s-inspired ‘Bell Bottoms’ orange shade…and the 80s-tastic ‘Shoulder Pad Purple’ colour:

    And, just for fun, here are Gerardine and Wayne (holding daffodils, of course) in what appears to be Paddington Bear’s house– Ellie

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