Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow…

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This was the snowscene inside…

And this was the snowscene outside…

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Very early this morning we were woken by a ‘thundersnow’ – a thunderstorm and blizzard in one.  All very rare for Seattle and particularly for us being so close to the lake.  Seattle is now of course completely paralysed with more snow expected at the weekend- will we be able to escape for Christmas?

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Christmas Cake Update

So on Friday the Minx and I worked on the Christmas Cake.

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Here’s one for the parenting police.  We made lots of tiny holes in the cake with a skewer and then poured a couple of tablespoons of brandy over the top. The Minx is spreading the brandy over the cake to make sure it got properly impregnated.  We’ve done this about three times since the cake was baked.

Next I made a vast quantity of marzipan using Delia’s recipe which was super fiddly as the eggs and sugar are cooked over a gentle heat to make a meringue before the ground almonds are stirred in.  It makes really good marzipan though.

Here is the cake all marzipanned and ready to go.

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Because Christmas cake isn’t made in the US there are no kitsch Christmas cake decorations for sale either, so the Minx and I decided to make some out of marzipan.  Santa is still waiting for his snow white beard made of royal icing. The Husband insists that no Christmas cake is complete without a ‘frozen pond’ made from card and tin foil, so he’s been told to make one of those, before I make some royal icing and assemble the whole thing by the middle of the week.

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Toys for Seattle Kids in Need – Can You Help?

I know many of you are from the Seattle area, so I wonder if you could consider the following letter from the Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation {via the Instant Hausfrau}.  If you’re not from Seattle I would imagine the situation will also be pretty much the same wherever you are. Please spread the word if you can.

Here’s a picture of the Minx to get you in the mood.

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Hello everyone

Each year, several of our community centers host holiday parties for under privileged children. At the parties, children from low-income homes receive toys provided to the community centers by Toys For Tots. This year, Toys For Tots has received so few donations that they have been unable to fulfill our community centers’ requests. You can read more about it here:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008478478_toysfortots07m.html

As a result, some community centers have had to cancel their holiday parties, and others are scrambling to gather toys.

Seattle Parks and Recreation has more than 650 children this year who are pre-registered for the holiday parties, and who hope to receive a toy. Were it not for this annual party, some children would not receive any presents.

I am asking you to consider donating a new, unwrapped toy to help us meet this overwhelming need. Our most urgent situation is for Garfield Community Center. More than 150 children are pre-registered for a holiday party THIS Friday, December 12. That’s tomorrow. (After center staff were turned away from Toys For Tots this past week, they stopped registering children for the event. So there will probably be more children who just show up for the party without having been registered. We won’t turn anyone away.)

Four other community centers still have holiday parties scheduled in the coming weeks and hope to fulfill their need for toys for these children. If you cannot find time to shop and donate a new, unwrapped toy by tomorrow, there’s still time to help the other community centers.

If you would like to donate a new, unwrapped toy, you can do so at the following locations:

Parks Headquarters, 100 Dexter Avenue N — Kathleen Shaw (684-7050) or Patricia Young (684-4369)

RDA Building, 800 Maynard Ave. S — Jacqueline Tabor (684-7044)

Densmore Building, 8061 Densmore Ave. N — Brenna Clausen (233-7011)

Thank you for considering this donation.

Tim

p.s. Please forward this email to any friends or family you think can help.

Tim Gallagher

Superintendent

Seattle Parks and Recreation

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Gift Ideas Under £25 and Free International Shipping

So here are a few gift ideas from mirrormirror over £10 and under £25.  Remember that we’re offering free domestic and international shipping to all blog readers as a special thank you for being so nice. Just mention the code word DECORATIONS when the order form asks ‘how did you hear about us’ and choose the ‘International Shipping £0.00′ option whether you live in the UK or overseas.

Just a reminder to everyone in the US that the UK postal service recommends December 10th as the last date to have things sent from the UK to the US in time for Christmas.  In our experience you should have a couple of days grace, but best to be on the safe side. So get your orders in now!

Click here to see finer detailed image This Journal and Colouring Book (£14) includes blank paper for sketches, graph paper for layouts and 12 pages of gorgeous interior scenes for you to colour in.
Click here to see finer detailed image The Felt Sugar Cookies (£14) remain one of the Minx’s favourite toys over a year after I first bought some for her.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to pretend to eat them.
Click here to see finer detailed image Our adorable Miffy Breakfast Set (£17) is suitable for girls, boys and grown ups. And it all comes in really nice Miffy gift box, which is almost the best thing.
Click here to see finer detailed image These beautiful unglazed porcelain votive candle holders (£15) from Karin Eriksson are selling fast, so get yours now.
Click here to see finer detailed image These lucite bracelets (£23) by Tarina Tarantino really dress up a little black frock and are such good value.  Also available in Black Diamond, Antique Rose and Olive Green, there is also a matching lucite and crystal choker
Click here to see finer detailed image This book of 20 gorgeous postcards by Atelier LZC (£16) has been flying out the door.

Click here to see finer detailed image This Rose Trimmed Shower Cap (£19) sells incredibly well for people buying for their mother-in-laws…
Click here to see finer detailed image This Bathtime Selection Box, including soaps, bathmelts and shower scrubs, all made from the purest essential oils, is one of our very best sellers and smells amazing.
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Go Fug Your Room? Matthew Williamson’s London House

I've put a question mark here as I actually rather like the very funky, very London, house belonging to British fashion designer Matthew Williamson, which has been featured in both September's Domino and now in January's Elle Deco UK.  However I can understand if it's not exactly other people's cup of tea and would love to know what you think.

Personally I love the way he mixes old and new, ethnic sensibilities, colours and patterns and the whole seems very much a reflection of his personality.

I'm not saying I would choose to live here – I'm not convinced I could cope with mirrored armchairs, spinal cord wallpaper, that bright a colour scheme and all the Indian stuff doesn't do much for me – but in the end this is a very personal space, doesn't feel 'try hard' unlike the Miles Redd space below and contains quite a lot of stuff I absolutely adore. It's probably closest in feel to the Betsey Johson apartment we critiqued pulled apart earlier this year, though it seems much less cluttered and the colour scheme isn't so execrable.

First up the two covers of the magazines provide an interesting Britain v America moment as both publications use exactly the same corner of the dining area on their covers. 

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Elle Deco's styling of the room is much less cluttered – no cushion on the chair, nothing on the tulip table, no globe in the corner and less junk on the console under the mirror. The chandelier also seems to have 'disappeared'. I like the pretty boxes they've added on the console and the Fornasetti plate over the mirror is inspired.    Interestingly though, Elle Deco has put Williamson on the cover, which they hardly ever do, whereas Domino, which is usually no stranger to cheesey celeb shots for once doesn't have a person at all.  Note that Elle Deco has made the room seem far less 'white' by punching up the colour, having the coloured wall reflect in the mirror, cropping away from the white window and er, 'painting' the ceiling. Which cover do you prefer?

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{Images from Elle Deco} 

Funnily enough the globe and the table dolly return when Elle Deco shows some interior shots, suggesting that Domino stuck with the original styling. I quite like that Designer's Guild wallpaper and am a sucker for white vinyl floors. And I love the mix of the Eames chairs, the tulip table and that fabulous peacock chair. The mirror is a bit baroque for my taste, but has a nostalgia factor for me as it was apparently bought on the Golborne Road, just round the corner from where I used to live in Notting Hill.

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I love what he's done with this sofa. That is all. Curtain treatment is strangely boring though.

{Above images from Domino}

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Mirrored armchair does NOT look cosy.  Still loving the white vinyl floor.  Love the windows and orange paint, not sure about the mirror mosaic fireplace, don't like the mirror, though I see what he's trying to do. Those books sure move around a lot.

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Light installation in the stairwell.  Best thing in the house.  As Rachel Zoe would say, I die.

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Fuchsia pink kitchen bar area.  Personally wouldn't have done it quite such a girly colour. But still rather fabulous.

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Ha ha!  You can tell we're in London from the pokey bathroom. Thought Venetian mirrors with modern had been done to death by now, but like the collage on the wall. I used to do things like that in my teens.  Haven't we see these vases before?

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image0-9Lovely floral wallpaper in bedroom.  Except it's not a floral.  Wallpaper design is made up of spinal cords and ribs.  I love the effect, but am far too squeamish to have this in a bedroom.


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Sex on a Stick

Despite the fact we have no money, I am SERIOUSLY considering spending $18 dollars on six of these from Petrossian {via I can’t remember which blog, let me know if it was you…}

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Gifts under £10 and Free Shipping for YOU

We’ve had a couple of great pieces of blog coverage in the last few days – on Shelterrific and Not Martha where we’ve offered free shipping to all their blog readers. And then it occurred to me that I really ought to be offering you guys FREE shipping too.

So, from now until Christmas, we’re offering free domestic and international shipping to all of you.  Just think of it as a special early Christmas present from me, with huge and heartfelt thanks for being the nicest blog readers in the world.  Just choose International Shipping £0.00 when you’re checking out (even if you live in the UK) and enter the code word DECORATIONS when it asks you ‘how did you hear about us’.

Because we live in straitened times, here some ideas for presents under £10 just to get you started. I’ll post about gifts at other price points over the weekend.  Remember also that we have a wishlist facility on the site (which works like the Amazon wishlist) in case you fancy getting any of these things for yourself.

Click here to see finer detailed image These gorgeous teatowels by Tikoli are only £7.50 each and come in six mix and match patterns, so you can afford to get several for all your friends and keep a few for yourself.
Click here to see finer detailed image These stacking eggcups are £7.50 each and have appeared in so many design magazines I’ve lost count.  They also come with matching stacking salt and pepper pots at £10 each.
Click here to see finer detailed image The Miffy ceramic coathook is much adored by the Minx and comes packed in a very cute Miffy gift box, all for £7.50.  We also have a matching Miffy eggcup, also in a gift box, for the same price.
Click here to see finer detailed image These double-sided greetings cards (£8) from the fabulous Atelier LZC sold out super fast when we first got them in and we’ve just got more in stock.
Click here to see finer detailed image If I were you I’d get several packs of these aromatherapy bathmelts at once as everyone loves them and they’re so useful for teacher presents, presents for colleagues or just to slip into the corner of a stocking. Made from the highest quality essential and fragrance oils, they’re on at £8.50.
Click here to see finer detailed image I have never been able to do justice to these teeny tiny bowls in a photo. Made by a Japanese student in East London, they’re moulded in porcelain into a wibbly wobbly shape, and impressed with a floral design (that’s the bit that’s difficult to capture in an image) and then stamped and handpainted with a delicate butterfly. Absolutely stunning in person and only £7.50 each.
Click here to see finer detailed image More stunning teatowels by Grace & Go, this time at £10 each. 
Click here to see finer detailed image Finally, I love the faintly quizzical expression on these hanging cut steel peacocks (£7.50), again by Atelier LZC, which would make weird but fabulous tree decorations.

Apologies for hideous blog self-promotion, normal blogging service will be resumed very shortly.

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Go Fug Your Room – Miles Redd

Or, Miles Redd – WTF? So, another super fashionable decorator with whom Americans seem to be incredibly enamoured is Miles Redd.  Domino describes him as the sultan of swank and his work is variously described as luxe, opulent, elegant, sumptuous, chic and glamorous, which all appear to be euphemisms for cluttered, ugly, muddled and like a dowager duchess on speed.

Like our dear friend Kelly Wearstler, he is another designer that I just do. not. get.  So, in the words of Rachel Maddow, I need you to 'talk me down'. Tell me just what it is that makes this guy so amazing and so worshipped.

Here are pics of his latest photoshoot in Domino.

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{All photos by Paul Costello from the Domino website} 

I'm sorry, but this is ugly. The colour scheme of beige, grey, plum, pale blue, forest green and red is incoherent, dull and generally bleurgh and I don't like the over-emphasized symmetry; those lamps are pretty, but look all wrong here, and I'm really not keen on the arrangement of pictures of wall, which for some reason puts me in mind of space invaders.

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{Photo by Paul Costello from Domino magazine}

I had to scan this picture in from the magazine as it wasn't on the Domino website, so you could see the far end of the room in all its ugly glory.  That picture is HIDEOUS, surely?  And I just find all the beige, grey and forest green deeply depressing; and no, it's not jazzed up by the 'witty' animal skin cushions, which just look try-hard and out of place here.

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Inoffensive, dull, more 'witty' animal print, like a bad hotel bedroom.  Move on, there's nothing to see here.

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Well I suppose this is better. Not so cluttered with junk and I quite like the colours, though I'm not entirely sure about shiny red patent leather in a bedroom context (or in any context aside from little girls' party shoes). The lamp and bedside table arrangement is OK though.

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I like this kitchen as a concept. I'm not sure I'd like it so much in the early morning while fumbling for a cup of coffee with a hangover, or indeed if I was actually going to attempt some cooking.  The coffee maker is aces though.

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And here's the man himself.  The Husband walked past my computer as I was pulling these pictures together and said 'he looks like a twat'.  Well, quite.  (I believe the North American equivalent of twat is 'douchebag', which is one of my all time favourite Americanisms).

 


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Busy, Busy, Busy

Apologies for the lack of posting recently.  As you can imagine this is a crazy time of year for us, with lots of re-ordering, getting new stuff on the site, crafting emails to send to our mailing list and sending out press releases.  This morning I was photographing a ‘roomset’ shot of the Pearl Lowe lace tablecloths for the Daily Mail (one of the UK’s biggest newspapers), so please keep your fingers crossed that they decide to use it.

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Getting the exposure right on this one was hard. This was one of the few I took which showed the detail of the tablecloth while still retaining the colour and detail in the curtains.  Fortunately the sun came out at just the right moment to add some texture to the shot.

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