Hot New Jewellery Designer


Look what I made the other night! Yes, I know they’re not terribly exciting but you’re supposed to be focusing on the little loops with twizzly bits round them above the dark blue beads (actually just focus on the left hand one, which is much better than the one on the right).  Oh I am so proud of my little self.

This is what we learned at ‘Beginning Wire Wrapping’ at Fusion Beads and I will never be able to look at a piece of jewellery in the same way again. 

I went out the other day and bought the stuff to do a couple of projects from Fusion Beads’ fabulous inspiration gallery.  The problem with jewellery making – unlike knitting, which can be done in front of dreadful reality TV programmes – is that I need to set aside a few hours of free time just to focus on the project and a few hours of completely free time doesn’t happen round here very often. So my pretty new beads are currently sitting quietly waiting for me to interact with them.

I suppose I could always stop reading blogs…


The New Coffee Table


When we bought our rug from Emma Gardner we ordered the largest we could afford – all the while suspecting that it was really too small for the space.  It certainly didn’t work with the extremely heavy curved glass coffee table which we brought from the UK, which we were afraid of even putting on the rug for fear of digging irreparable grooves deep into the pile.



So a new coffee table had to meet quite a long list of requirements.  Child-friendly obviously – the old glass one had been great for that – and wipe cleanable.  Also preferably not wood as I’m not sure how child-friendly that is over time and we already have a lot of wood in the room. And ideally white, as we already have quite a lot of dark wood in the room. I also quite wanted something curvy to detract from all the various rectangles.

After much fruitless trawling round the Internet, we went trawling round some Seattle shops and were amazed to find something we could actually afford in Ligne Roset  – heavily discounted because it was a discontinued piece (you can take the girl out of Europe, but you can’t take Europe out of the girl).  And remarkably it fit all of our criteria, except the curviness, though that was less of an issue since we’d just acquired such a nice curvy pink chair.

But it was also BIG and we were worried that it would make the rug seem even smaller and more inadequate in the space.


I’m hoping we’ve solved that problem by placing the table half on and half off the rug in what we fondly hope is a Rothko-esque sort of way.  What do you think?  Does it work like that, or just look odd?

Sothebys Art Auction

Here’s Rothko’s interpretation of our living room.  Which would look extremely fab over our not so fab sofa. Apparently it’s a snip at a mere $72.8 million, or the Husband has just offered to paint me one himself.










Here’s my list of what still has to be done in this room.

  • Get rid of the egg yolk yellow walls. We have a couple of quotes from painters to paint the whole house, so I just need to finalise the colour palette and we’re set.
  • Replace ugly front door that opens right into the room.
  • Do something about all the ugly TV and stereo equipment
  • Get cushions for the sofa (I’ve got some ideas for cushions I want to make)
  • Sort out curtains for the front window
  • Sort out the lighting
  • Organise the beautiful built-in book cases a bit better.
  • Find beautiful piece of artwork to go above the sofa, unlikely to be a Rothko

Unfortunately, because of a certain someone, we can’t replace the more-shabby-than-chic sofa just for the moment. 



You Make My Day

youmakemydayBarb of Pannifer’s Food Blog and May December Home fame was kind enough to give my new photoblog Today I Am Mostly a ‘You Make My Day’ award.

I’m so enjoying doing TIAM – it’s making me photograph more and observe more, which have to be good things – and  I’m glad it’s getting a little bit of a following.

I now have to nominate five other blogs which make my day, which is almost impossible because I get inspiration from so many (and because so many of my faves,  – I’m looking at you  Cally Creates, Little Doodles, Cruststation, Designer’s Block  and Hidden in France –  have already received this award).

Here, though, are five blogs which are full of visual inspiration, which I thought was appropriate given that my award was for my photoblog.

Sprink takes the most beautiful, contemplative shots of London and her perfectly decorated flat and I know that I will get my fix of London nostalgia whenever she pops up in my Google Reader.

Casapinka I’m so glad she’s recently started posting again after moving house. Lots and lots of house-doing-up inspiration.

Abigail Percy. Jewellery maker and one of our favourite suppliers.  I love her poetic photos of the jewellery-making process.

Lola is Beauty – Fashion and France from another London blogger who helps me when I’m feeling homesick

Making It Lovely.  Nicole has amazing taste and gets things done with enviable speed.  Her newly-decorated house is FAB-YOU-LOUS.

Editing to say that since Lola already has the award, I’m going to add Scrappy Girl – someone else who is doing wonderful things to her apartment  – to the list.

Ladies, if you wish to play, the rules are as follow…

a) nominate five other blogs which ‘Make Your Day’ on your blog

b) acknowledge the post of the award giver

c) let the recipients know in their comments


Come Into My Garden – February

We’ve had a week of glorious spring sunshine here in Seattle (which of course didn’t coincide with our friends’ visit) and the little garden (I’m sorry, I still can’t bring myself to say yard) we had built last year is springing into life.

I spent the weekend tidying it up and planting lilies and other bits and pieces acquired at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, where I spent absolutely too much money. 

There’s rather a lot of bare earth on show now that the perennials have died back and the deciduous shrubs are just bare twigs, but if you look closely there are definite signs of life.


680 You will notice that we abandoned the idea of getting a swing seat in the end because I couldn’t source anything I liked and instead bought a wood and rope swing from a carpenter on Ebay.  If the Minx ever dares complain about her childhood I will counter with the fact that she spent her formative years swinging under a hundred-year old cherry tree.

The stars of the garden this month are the hellebores in the shade garden under the tree.




The pansies I  planted last autumn have been flowering all winter and are still going strong and adding a splash of much needed colour.

I just wish I’d planted a few more.
































The flowers of the nandinas are not so showy, but I love how the shadows of the branches dance on the old wooden fence.


We’re also anxiously waiting to be able to harvest broccoli and red oak leaf lettuce, which has somehow made it through the winter snow, from the tiny vegetable patch.

And here is the very best secret surprise.  A nondescript bush at the sheltered south side of the house planted by the previous owners, turned out to be an orange tree!  The fruit itself is nothing to write home about tastewise, but it looks so exciting and makes me feel like I’m gardening in Sicily.



Oscar Thoughts

One of the nicest things about moving to the US is being able to watch the Oscars as they happen at a sensible time of the evening instead of pinching oneself to stay awake into the wee small hours.  I do miss Jonathon Ross’s snark though.

I have to say though, that I’ve never seen such a boring collection of Oscar frocks in my life. Mile after mile of vacuous starlets parading in slimline silhouettes and fishtail trains, their breast implants squashed into strapless or assymetrical off- the-shoulder necklines.

And the colours – or lack thereof. Last night there were apparently only three choices available – black, red,  or white/silver if you were really feeling rebellious.  If you’re going to go to all the trouble of wearing a posh frock, then why would you choose black? However intricate the actual dress is, it’s never going to stand out in a crowd.  And no, midnight blue is not really a much racier choice.

Though it did make me laugh to see all those girls who really thought they’d stand out by wearing red all queuing up in a long line like London buses. 

heidi_klumIf you must wear red, do it like Heidi Klum.  Despite being completely addicted to Project Runway, I’m not a big fan of the robotic Frau Seal, but there’s no denying that her Galliano dress is absolutely spectacular.  It’s apparently up for auction for charity, if you’ve still got some Christmas money left over.












Another contender for Best Dressed, despite being nearly three times the age of some of the vacuous starlets was Helen Mirren.  Oh she makes me proud to be British. 
















If you’re going to do the fishtail look then why not go the whole hog and turn up dressed as a mermaid a la Best Actress Marion Cotillard in Gaultier.  I was so thrilled with her win. La Vie En Rose was one of the few other movies I went to see last year and her acting was an absolute tour de force.


Worst dressed was difficult.  Normally this would have been a slam dunk win for Tilda Swinton, who decided to turn up wearing a black bin liner.

tilda-swinton-oscars-2008-02However, it was such a relief to see something a bit different from all the strapless fishtails that I’ll give her a pass on this one, also because one has to respect her Bowie-esque fierceness and the fact that she manages to live with both the father of her children and her handsome toyboy.  Though even given all those things, black really isn’t the right colour for you if your complexion is that pale.

The Husband, who saw Michael Clayton recently, reckoned she deserved her win, but I was sad that the Oscar didn’t go to 13-year-old Saiorse Ronan who managed to act everyone else off the screen in Atonement (not so difficult when you’re up against Keira Knightley, more so when it’s Vanessa Redgrave).

At least she managed to look ethereal and age appropriate (*cough* Miley Cyrus *cough*) in Alberta Ferretti, though the hair was a bit too severe. We will forgive her much for actually wearing a colour other than black red or white though.


One of the only people other than Tilda, who managed to stand out amongst the personality transplants was Diablo Cody, who won the original screen writing award.  Again, I wouldn’t normally advocate tats and leopardskin, but it worked, because that is clearly who she is.


So who wins the mirrormirror Worst Dressed Award?

I’m sort of confused by Nicole Kidman’s effort. Pregnancy has clearly befuddled her brains sufficiently that she decided to turn up wearing a bib made of diamonds.  It sort of looks OK here, but much worse when she was actually presenting her award as the necklace had got all askew and tangled by that stage. But at least she was trying something different.

She absolutely wins the ‘worst face’ award though.  She really couldn’t move it for Botox when making her little speech.  She appears to be morphing rapidly into Lady Penelope.





Sadly my girl Jennifer Hudson, of whom I have been a great fan since American Idol days and who quite often looks fab, was again let down badly by her Oscar stylist.  After last years horrific bolero, she wore a frock that made her ample boobage look deformed.  Even the Husband remarked upon it (we know now where he looks when it comes to clothes).  It seems that designers and stylists are completely flummoxed when they have to confront a pair of real breasts. As a woman of ample boobage myself,  I’d love to see her in something plunging and uplifting and in yer face which would get all the fishtailed starlets crying into their implants.  But for the moment though, she’s a strong contender for Worst Dressed.


Actress Daniel Day-Lewis and wife Rebecca Miller attend the 80th Editing to say that, now I’ve found a pict ure of it, this creation undoubtedly wins the Worst Dressed award.  What on earth was Rebecca Miller thinking?


Mondrian Styling

One reason I still get the UK interiors mags is for the beautiful and imaginative product styling.

Here are some images from February 2008’s Elle Deco which put me in mind of Mondrian’s art. Somehow I just can’t imagine seeing images like these in Domino.

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Coincidentally, the stylist for these shots is Frank Vissers whose apartment I blogged about in October.  I just love his use of colour.


Book Review – The Gentle Art of Domesticity

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I’ve finally got round to reading a book which has been on my list for ages but which has been scaring me a bit.  I found the tweeness of the title and the cover picture tremendously off-putting, but have recently been enjoying Yarnstorm – the blog that inspired the book, and thought I’d give it a go. 

It’s been the subject of quite a lot of controversy in the UK, mostly from those who think doing stuff around the house, indulging in crafts and enjoying cooking is somehow a betrayal of the feminist movement.  But as you know, I like to cook and potter in my house and garden and have tremendous admiration for people who can actually DO crafts, so I persevered beyond the horrible title and cover.

First the good bits.  The book is sumptuously produced and a hugely pleasurable read.  The chapters are short, so it’s very easy to dip in and out of, and the book is absolutely chock-a-block full of photos, which are, actually, the best bit. Jane’s photos are gorgeous and inspiring and I would post lots up here, but apparently I have to get her express written permission and I really couldn’t be bothered, so just check out her blog instead.  But it is to her enormous credit that most of the photos in the book are taken by her and not by some anonymous stylist.

Jane’s prose is also utterly beautiful, she has a very visual way of describing things and writes in a very intelligent and thoughtful way.  And the book is not just about knitting and baking and quilting, it also talks about domesticity in film and art and books, which is fascinating. It also contains an excellent list of ‘Resources’ at the back, including inspirational books, blogs and materials stockists.  Oh and there are lots of ideas about how to get kids involved in crafts and domestic projects.

So what didn’t I like? Well the book is very personal to Jane. It is by no means an instruction manual, it is all about how she thinks about craft, how she gains inspiration, and the creative process behind her craft projects, though with no detailed instructions beyond a few recipes.  And unfortunately her aesthetic is just a bit too genteel and Radio 4 for me – the pink heart-shaped mousse on the front cover does absolutely sum it up (though the colour balance on the front cover is ghastly, there’s a more subdued and nicer photo of it in the book itself). I’m a sure a ton of people will absolutely adore the stuff she makes but I’m just not an embroidered crinoline ladies sort of person. 

Does anyone know of crafters out there who are doing stuff which is a bit more well, ‘fierce’? Not knitting plastic bags sort of fierce, but stuff you might want to put into a more contemporary home.


On the plus side, the book has inspired to pick up my knitting again!  Knitting is the only craft I can do. Here’s the beginnings of a bag for the Minx.  Pattern, with tweaks, courtesy of this book.  Colour choice courtesy of the Minx (and only because they didn’t do this yarn in bright eyeball-searing red).


Mark My Words

This is the next American Idol. 


I promised myself that this was the year I wouldn’t get sucked in, and I only managed to hold out until the Top 24.  Self-discipline is not my forte.


Go Fug Your Room – Betsey Johnson

This next room should please the 84% of you who thought that the Kelly Hoppen-designed room was too bland and soulless and lacking in colour and nicknackery (which begs the question how on earth is Kelly H so successful?).

US fashion designer Betsey Johnson’s maximalist apartment was featured in last August’s UK Elle Deco and has since garnered a surprisingly positive reaction around blogland.

I have no real idea who she is, beyond what I’ve read on Wikipedia though I did like what I saw of her last collection.  She looks like she’s trying to be ‘zany’ in a Zandra Rhodes-ish sort of way and ‘more is more’ is definitely her byword, when it comes to home furnishings at least.

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I do like the mix of romantic French and vintage mid-century pieces and love the idea of accenting pink with yellow, but surely this is TOO pink? It’s not even a tasteful pink but bubblegum pink.  Mixed with fuschia.  With a pink shag carpet.

And am I the only person feeling sorry for the person who does the dusting? And who is getting mightily bored with Arco lamps? (Though I presume Betsey might have acquired hers from Andy Warhol rather than Ebay).

Is this room fugly?