Only a short post today. Just wanted to share how excited I am that I found this beautiful tiny cottage near Stockholm, which we've now booked for a week this Summer. I love the painted white wooden walls and the eclectic mix of furniture. Yup - right up my street. It's got a beach, kayaks, a barbecue, a sauna and gorgeous views onto the archipelago. And still within cycling distance of the city buzz (yes, bicycles also come with the cottage!). Bring it on!



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The Offcuts. A 68 page book with studiomama full of black and white images or animals and creatures made from offcuts of wood. My first go at a bit of publishing on-demand with lulu. It wasn't completely straightforward as black and white didn't really work…


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This was completed before Christmas, packaging for Archie Foal's very lovely wool and cashmere socks. Paper garter wrap (above), swing tag, sock wrap and a bright red box all featuring the Archie Foal logo in bronze foil. The socks look really good on too!


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Having just purchased my first crystal chandelier for the shop, I thought I'd write a post celebrating the drama that a great light fixture accomplishes. Though my tastes are not especially girly when it comes to interiors, I have to make an exception for chandeliers. I've always wanted to makeover an otherwise understated bathroom with an elaborate glass chandelier adorned with lots of colorful baubles. A beautiful vintage chandelier can add elegance to a dining or living space. On the other hand, an up-cycled found object (such as a bowler hat, as was recently suggested to me by a customer) can inject a sense of humor into an otherwise classic room. Why else were high ceilings invented if not to suspend elaborate sculptures?

As the following pics show, Etsy is chock full of options for beautiful and whimsical lighting.

Classic Hanging Lantern from Rosebuds Home.

Hollywood Regency Faux Bamboo Chandelier from Fabulous Mess.

Pink Beaded Chandelier from Paris Couture Antiques.

Ball Mason Jar Chandelier from Boots N Gus.

Trouble Light Chandelier from Modern Upcycle.

Images: Lonny mag, Dec 2010. InsideOut mag; May/June 2010, June 2004. Thrifty Chic: Interior Style on a Shoestring by Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell, photography by Simon Brown, published by CICO Books, 2009. Living etc mag; Dec 2010, Aug 2009. Rosebuds Home. Fabulous Mess. Paris Couture Antiques. Boots N Gus. Modern Upcycle.


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I stumbled across this article and thought I would post it. It has great advice on what to say and what NOT to say to someone who is grieving the loss of a baby or miscarriage.
What Do I Say??
It's hard to know what to say to a grieving parent. Our own fear of loss can render us immobile. And sometimes people feel like they have to think of the "perfect" thing to say. There is no "perfect" thing to say. There is nothing you can say to heal the grief of losing a child. But acknowledging and supporting grief is a way to help healing. Please know that the effort of talking about the baby, the loss, and the sadness will be appreciated, even if it's not "perfect."

Some Things NOT to Say:

  • "It was God's will."
  • "It was meant to be" or "it was for the best."
  • "Your baby is in a better place now."
  • "Time heals all wounds."
  • "I know just how you feel." (Unless you have personally experienced the loss of a baby.)
  • "It's been ___ amount of time and aren't you over it yet? It's time to get on with your life."
  • "At least you have other children" or "At least you can have other children." ( I HATE THIS ONE!)
  • "Now you will have an angel in heaven."
  • "It could have been worse..." It could not have been worse. Not to the grieving parent.


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It all began simple enough. Bring the chickens hot water in a plastic container in 25 degree weather.Nothing new. The Captain reports as soon as he put that steaming water down, they went crazy. Knocking each other over, screaming and then... they discovered the warmth. One chick decided to sprawl out next to it, with it's head over hanging into the container. As though it were enjoying a facial steam. Then another decided to just hop in and sprawl it was a hot tub. Just laid there as others continued to drink.
He laughed and said "stupid chicken". I said "wow, a chicken hot tub". 
The problem came when The Captain went back 15 minutes later and discovered our "hot tub chicken" almost dead. Apparently it decided a walk outside their coop was in order after such a relaxing dip.
Feathers had icicles. The Captain thought it was dead for sure.
He scooped her up and brought her inside. You could barely see the weak shake in her legs as I got to work. A few minutes more outside and I'm not sure my effort would have worked.
After letting room temp water bring up her exterior temperature, I wrapped her up in a towel and used the blow dryer on low. You could hear the weak peeps begin to escape. 5 minutes more, her eyes would open up for a second or two. Ming, who tries so hard to play with the chickens {much to their horror},  has a most disturbing and insatiable desire for...chicken butts. How do you break a dog of that !?
 She was quick to Hop in & help. Licking her legs and head, seeming to stimulate the freezing chicken. She laid claim and we nicknamed it Ming's "Precious". Once dried, she went into the now empty container she used as a hot tub. A heating pad underneath for extra warmth.
Ming would not leave her side. She laid on the ground towel and kept as close as she could .

Eventually her "precious" was strong enough to hop out of her warm nest and strolled around the living room, never more then a few inches from her new friend. She earned her "bracelet" which is reserved  for special chickens. Like the one nice rooster out of the 4 I have counted in this batch.

Ming did try playing with her and that silly chicken could care less. Brain damaged or a strange bond between dog & poultry? Time will tell.
 They strolled together a good half hour before I felt she was well enough to go back into chicken world. 
It was best she went back out. After all, seeing Ming check out that chicken bottom became a bit disturbing.

Sweet dreams,


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Obsessed with Scandinavia? Who, me? After my recent trip to Copenhagen I suddenly refound my love for the Scandinavian countries (although the one for their design had never gone!). I spent many childhood holidays here - camping in Summer, cross-country skiing in Winter - and they were all wonderful. Fishing until midnight as it never got dark, jumping into the nearby lake straight from our tents, grilling sausages on an open camp fire and going on canoe expeditions on the look out for wild beavers. In Winter we would travel up with other families in a caravan of cars packed full of kids, skis and groceries from Aldi (cause you know what the prices are like in Sweden!) for a week of fun in the snow. My parents were truly Scandinavia-holics. IKEA was a standard stop on the way home and my mum even dressed me as Pippi for a school party. Ahhh...those were the days.     (top image: Dinh Linh on Flickr)


Me in my Pippi outfit, age...8?


Our packed green Lada with matching canoe in Norway early nineties

And now I want to go back! I have been googling like mad on the hunt for the perfect holiday cottage by a lake (Glenn doesn't share my Dutch love of camping) and trying to find the easiest way to get to Sweden from Scotland in July. One week relaxing in one place and another week touring around and visiting various places including Stockholm. Lakes, canoes, camp fires and endless Summer evenings combined with a visit to one of the hippest design cities in Europe. Sounds like a plan. Shame it's still only March.


Image: DianeCA

I love the simple, functional but beautiful 'Scandi style'; pure, natural materials, clean lines, quality products and fresh, happy colours. No unnecessary decoration, but form follows function. Here are some inspirational photos featured on Scandinavian design blogs and designer websites:

A picturesque Swedish cottage and its interior featured on the Designheaven blog


A bright and airy space featured on the blog From Scandinavia with Love


A bathroom featured on the wonderful design blog by Stockholm-based Emma


Colourful products by Darling Clementine, Norwegian design agency inspired by the past and their Scandinavian design heritage.


Plenty of inspiration for your interior on the lovely blog Scandinavian Chic (two images above)


Lots more to drool about on design blog Roomservice


Great looking 'retro' tableware by Swedish brand Sagaform


More great home decor on Tinaminastina's blog


Beautiful, durable woven rugs made out of plastic, designed and made in Sweden by Pappelina

Did I miss any good Scandinavian blogs and sites? Anyone been to Stockholm recently - share some tips with me please! And if anyone knows the perfect Swedish lakeside cottage, please share the details with me - thanks! :-)



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As I dusted off my little herbal family altar, I began thinking of how rare it is to see such a space in other homes. I wondered if there were others whom had that special space  laid in view to all who entered. The thought of sharing it with you came from a post I read over at the Green Woman's blog. My sacred space. My altar of life containing items that span almost a lifetime for me.

On the bottom shelf I have my special trinkets. Items with special meanings also found or given to me through the span of my adult life. To name a few, one is the Glass heart which inspired Panda's Crow girl costume & story of this last Halloween. A special sea stone discovered on Coquina beach walking with an old flame. It has the perfect 8 shape hole in its core, a stone which is said to be of great luck to the finder.
3 antique keys bought during the first Mother daughter trip Panda & I had. And a heart shaped rock found while playing in a creek with my wee ones during a hike not too long ago. 
On the second to bottom shelf I have our most often used Apothecary of herbs. From ones used daily in our Tea time to those used medicinally. I have yet to have their labels printed out in the old Apothecary look I have worked on. Not having a printer has prolonged the matter.
There are some herbs missing due to not having enough space but I am eyeing the very top 2 shelves for organizing the left out jars. I have a cherished picture of my baby brother and his lovely wife, just below my most cherished gift from her. A plaque sculpture of the Triple Moon Goddess she picked up while in Ireland, on her return trip to the states after serving our country overseas. {From the works of Wild Goose studios in Kinsale, Ireland } She shared that when she saw it, she immediately thought of me & had to bring it back.

The second to the top shelf holds our array of antique tea cups and ware. I removed the wine glass spacers just for this purpose. I also have special pictures of my children spread throughout this nook. Ones that bring a smile to my face and memories of the moment. The very top shelf houses my never used glass dessert cups of my Naturewood dishes. All the more reason to put them away in a cupboard & use the space for more herbal jars. A few special tokens up there as well. The last yarrow flower of the season hung to dry. A swarvoski crystal clock from The Captains month long trip to Ireland the which he returned from just a week before I met him. The crystal bride/groom given to me from a cousin that adorned our wedding cake table.
To anyone else, these items mean nothing. Maybe even seen as clutter. But to me, it is a nook full of memories & moments. Smiles and love. My altar of family & life.
Sweet dreams,


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People kept on telling me about this place but I never got around to visit... The Box Room in Banchory, Aberdeenshire. Yesterday lunchtime I finally had time to pop down and have a look. My oh my, what a great spot for treasure hunting! Hidden away on a small industrial estate and packed full of second-hand furniture and just...well, stuff. Chairs, tables, cupboards, bed frames, mirrors and lots of cups, vases, decorative things and of course your fair share of hideous kitsch-y pictures. Cheap too, that was the best bit! £10 for a chair, £20 for a table. Not all great pieces, but there are some real gems with potential. I feel I should really keep this little secret to myself and not shout it from the roof tops but most of you live far enough away not to all of a sudden raid the place, haha ;-)

I will definitely be checking here for furniture once I'm ready for my next DIY project, but yesterday I was a good girl and only came home with one lovely blue enamel teapot and two cute mustard yellow spice jars... Had to be strict! "No, Nina, you can't have that chair - you gotta finish your other one first!!" Can't wait to go back though, they told me they get new stuff everyday...



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With the weather dipping back into a more snow friendly range, Frog & I got to work on a new project. Her choice of tending in the garden this year will be carrots & flowers.  Frog has chosen a rainbow of carrot colors and  an array of flowers to arrange in bouquets for her profiting from the market stand. No problem. Easy enough, right?
BUT there IS a problem when you think of how that carrot planting may turn out with a 5 year old doing the work. Crooked rows, clumped seeding. large bare spots. The thought of her plot outcome had me brainstorming damage control.

Enter The Bathroom tissue paper solution. I have had her at my side whipping these up and although it is easy to make, the time can be consuming with 4 packets of carrot seed {along with said 5 year old}.

A glue solution was made of flour & water. about 1/2 cup of flour mixed with small amounts of water until a glue consistency has been reached. I had an almost empty bottle of basic liquid school glue, which I emptied and rinsed before placing the flour glue into the bottle. The twist top point tip is PERFECT for all ages. Less mess, dependpent upon, how well one's child may create a mess out of nothing.
Then, roll out 1to 2 feet long sections of the bathroom tissue. Put a drop of your glue solution every 2 inches or so down the sides of the bathroom tissue. Place one seed into each drop and lay a second layer of tissue over the first {of same length}. Lightly press down to seal the spots between layers. Let lay flat until dry. Then just roll them up, place in a zippy bag to store until planting.

As for the carrot patch damage control?
In the end, You will happy with the extra effort. Your carrot patch will look so much nicer. But if you are accompanied by an independent 5 year old... be prepared to call it Modern Garden art.....

Sweet Dreams,


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Guess what this was in a past life? When we remodeled the kitchen, I sold most of my old cabinets through the newspaper but was left with some drawer sections that I had no idea what to do with. Turns out they make fantastic paint surfaces! This is the art piece I have hanging above my bed.

I think it's kind of awesome because when me and Chris were dating we actually designed our bedroom furniture. We drew it out, made the measurements, decided on the style, etc. and then when we bought our house my dad made and gave the finished pieces to us. I love having something that's our personal taste AND handmade by my dad. I have an old oil painting that my grandmother hanging on the adjacent wall and although I don't know if I'll ever be at her skill level, I love having my own across the wall.

To make it less cupboard-like, I textured the flat surface with joint compound and used paints I already had from around the house mixing and creating colors with the same color palette, yet not exactly matching the walls. In all this project cost me $0.00 Does that feel good or what?


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This post was going to be about campaign style--so named for furniture designed to be easily transported by army officers on military campaigns. But the only photos I was finding of folding chairs, tables, and grooming stands all had a strong plantation vibe to them. So this post is a mash-up of the two styles with a bit of safari style thrown in through the tortoise shells and carved wood animals. The inspiration point is grand interiors with massive windows that are kept open from dawn until dusk (plantation) and outdoor living that doesn't skimp on the amenities (campaign/safari). I love the addition of trunks and travel baskets, as well as the tattered/unfinished linen chairs to otherwise quite upscale furnishings. Based on photos of Ernest Hemingway's homes (the last photo was taken at his Cuban hideaway), I can imagine him writing comfortably in any of these spots.

Images: Inside Out magazine, November/December 2008 issue. Maisons de Campagne magazine, September/October 2010 issue. House Beautiful magazine, May 2010 issue. Lonny magazine, October/November 2010 issue. Reuters.


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