Heart’s Content

In my dressing room, I felt at liberty to go as GIRLY AS I WANTED with the decor.
I try to rein in my girly decorating tendencies in the rest of the house
(and fail miserably, most of the time), but I just let it all hang out in here! Within girlicious reason. Ish.

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One of the things I was really looking forward to styling was the interior wall of the Murphy bed. I collected images  for months and months, knowing I would use them in an all-white gallery wall over the bed, creating a cozy nook for guests.

Buying “art” is pricey and, while I do have some “real art,” I really just like to frame up stuff I think is pretty or cute. The frames are all from Ikea or re-painted ones I had at home. If you are thinking of embracing the gallery wall trend (which we have done in whole-heartedly around here!), here are some of the things I did to get on the bandwagon without breaking the bank.

I found the adorable Amanda Catherine print of the Kate Spade quote at Homesense and snapped it up. I strung up a sweet little Liberty garland I made with pre-cut circles from La Droguerie and some vintage chandelier crystals I found in London at the top, to camouflage the frame of the bed where it mounts to the wall & to add some softness. This is the inside of a bed, after all.

I kept the frames uniform– I went with all white for a soothing, fresh look that won’t keep my guests up at night. I added one gold frame and I mounted a sweet little box from Ladurée to add some sparkle. I like to use more than just framed images on a gallery wall to add some interest. In this case, I hung some starfish and the macaron box from Ladurée to add some depth to the display.

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Above, you can see that I used one of my favourite Dorothy Parker quotes and layered it over a wallpaper sample from Farrow & Ball. Instant cuteness!

How to get a gallery wall without a gallery price tag:

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1. Frame a snippet of vintage fabric. I got this piece at a vintage fair in Kensington, London. It’s an old piece from France and there is no way I could bear actually cutting it, so this was the perfect solution!

2. Use washi tape to hang pretty cards or postcards that tickle your fancy. I like that the flatness of the taped-up cards makes the depth of the frames and other items more interesting.

3. Keep your tongue in your cheek. I loved this postcard of a WWII propaganda poster. I picked it up at Churchill’s War Rooms and thought that I would have had a Very Hard Time with this particular piece of advice. Also, I often pick up postcards when I am travelling and then they just get stuck away in a box and I never look a them. This way, I can be reminded of my lovely summer trip.

4. Frame cards. They also make great travel souvenirs and are inexpensive and light to bring home. I got these in Shoreditch High Street; they are by an East End artist in London and remind me of William Morris‘ wallpaper designs. You will also see a Ziggy Stardust card I picked up at the V&A and a few more postcards and cards on this wall.

5. Frame wallpaper samples. This darling otter with a fan is one of the images on my beloved House of Hackney  fabric and wallpaper. Since I could not bring home the wallpaper (or convince my fella that we neeeeeeeeeed a wall of black wallpaper covered in naughty animals), I got the sample and framed it up.

In other words, FRAME EVERYTHING.
Frames can be had for a song at Ikea or craft stores and there is precious little that is truly un-frameable, so let your imagination soar.
Hung as a collection, even smallish frames and inexpensive artwork can have a big impact, so hunt around your house and see what you’ve got!

Update: Since writing this post, I have seen several posts around the web about the very topic of gallery walls. Clearly, this is bandwagon on a roll– hop on! 

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The Cat’s Pyjamas

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Chaos continues to reign here at Delovely HQ as we get new windows and new floors installed, so here is a sweet little flashback from my Liberty of London pilgrimage.

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I could be happy with a few of these whimsical beauties, couldn’t you? Check out Rory Dobner‘s work here and here.

Tray Chic

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These trays by French company Ibride made me guffaw out loud. In typical Liberty style, they are a witty combo of the traditional and the silly and I adore them.
Would it be wrong to get ALL of them and use them on a feature wall?

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Mr. Goat and his Mrs. are the picture of respectability, aren’t they?

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One of the things that I love about Liberty (and the reason that I treat a visit there like a museum visit) is that they curate the truly wonderful and gather it all in one place, introducing unique and interesting companies and their products to people (like me!) who would not necessarily discover them otherwise.
Click on the link to Ibride to see what I mean.

I’m not sure which of these is my favourite….

Sitting purr-ty.

Sitting purr-ty.

Love birds.

Love birds.

Put a bird on it, indeed!

Put a bird on it, indeed!

To Be A Pilgrim

delovelydelightfulFurther to Monday’s post, I thought I’d share with you a few reasons why I make a pilgrimage to Liberty of London a must for each of my visits to London.  If you have never been to Liberty, then I cannot do it justice here, in words or images. If you have been, then you will know what I mean.  Either way, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what was going on there this July.

It is, in short, a shrine to all things gorgeous and stylish, from paper products to clothing to homewares to décor to sewing and haberdashery and crafting supplies to seasonal items to the purely whimsical and creative. I spend a few hours there each time I visit, just wandering and soaking up the amazing, inspiring, beautifully-styled displays of wonderful, wild, weird, beautiful things I could never afford. Think of Liberty as the elegant, sophisticated grandmother of Anthropologie— the effortlessly chic, stylish, individualistic kind of aristocratic, truly British eccentric, an iconic tastemaker who comes along only once in history.

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I have a few Liberty posts lined up for you, but today’s takes a look at one of the things they do best: push boundaries. This display took my breath away*– the juxtaposition of the religious imagery with the delicate blown-glass skulls and the traditional floral china patterns really works for me. I’d LOVE to have all of these dishes and accents in my home; I love the mix of the delicate and the hard-edged, the use of traditional elements in a decidedly non-traditional way. How pretty would a bunch of the little glass skulls look amid some ivory-coloured candles down the middle of a dining table?

*it also took my brain away– I forgot to check who made these beauties! If anyone knows, please let me know in the comments so I can link to the source. 

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Across the room from the dinnerware was a little display of candy skulls. I can’t explain why I love skulls so much– it dates back to my teen years and there is no good reason why someone as squeamish as I am should be so obsessed with something so macabre… Maybe because I’m a Hallowe’en baby? In any case, I love that skulls are all the rage these past few years!

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(Those of you who work with me will recognize that title, but this link is for those of you who are mystified. The religious connection works on more than one level today. 🙂 )

Sweet Liberty

I toyed with calling this post “Hoop-de-Doo”….

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I have always had a (probably sort of weird) thing for embroidery hoops. I love the ingenious nature of them– so simple and elegant, so clever. I also love to embroider, though I haven’t really done it since my early 20s; I love the way it feels to hold a hoop full of fabric in my hand as I stitch.  The kind of hoops I like are not your newfangled plastic ones; rather, I like the old-fashioned wooden ones. I think of what they would have meant to ladies back in the day when embroidery was one of the very few things it was considered acceptable for girls and women to do with their time and energy. I imagine hoops being passed down from mother to daughter to granddaughter. I think of all the news and chatting and gossip and joy and heartbreak a hoop would be privy to over the course of its life.

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I also LOVE fabric. I have a lot of fabric. Much of it I love too much to actually use it– ain’t no project good enough for my most gorgeous textiles– antique French cottons and linens; funky retro prints; more-precious-than-gold, swoon-worthy 1/4-metres of Liberty prints.

So of course I am all over the trend of using your hoops as a way to display pretty fabric. It’s a great way to show off (and save!) your prettiest bits of precious textiles. I got these beautiful images on Pinterest; they are all from the clever girls over at PurlBee.

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Go Figure

Every year (for the past 5 or so, anyway), I make aprons to sell at my little stall. They have, historically, been a HUGE hit. They are made from tea towels and pretty grosgrain ribbon and look very sweet on, while simultaneously being very hard-wearing. I think the latter is an important factor in an apron; I have a growing collection of darling vintage aprons, but I am always a bit afraid to wear them, as they are far too precious to ruin by getting cooking mess on them! The tea towel aprons solve that problem as, if they get dirty, they wash and dry like a dream.

People buy them by the bunch, stocking up on them to use as hostess gifts and stocking stuffers, birthday, Christmas and Mother’s Day gifts. In preparing my wares this year, I found I had only a very few aprons left from last year, so I made sure to make about 40 more aprons.

And hardly any of them sold. Not very many people wanted aprons, not even my regulars. Not even people who told me they couldn’t wait for my stall so they could lay in their yearly supply of aprons…. Weird, no?

Oh, well; I won’t make any new ones for next year– I already have a good stash on-hand!

I also sold some of the bias-tape bracelets and vintage button hairbands and barrettes I made during my sabbatical year (when I had time for hours upon hours of hand-sewing!).

The bias tape is made by Liberty of London (insert swoon-fest here) and I bought it in France at La Droguerie, a store that delighted and gutted me at the same time; the former because it was so gorgeous and full of beauty and inspiring ideas and buttons and buttons and buttons and every kind of perfectly divine notion, the latter because it would never fly here in North America because we are so unwilling to pay what beautiful things are worth…

(Please excuse the blurry photos: bad lighting + cell phone camera = not the clearest pix.)