Crazy Sexy Pom Pom

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 You might remember this from the festive season.

I loved the look of the pink glass bauble dangling from the antler of our golden ibex (or whatever he is) and I missed it when I de-Christmasified.

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Serendipitously, I found myself with some of leftover Crazy Sexy Wool in Hot Punk Pink after I knit myself my fabulous Billie Collar from Wool and the Gang.
I figured it was just about enough to make a big ol’ pompom. So I made one!

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I love the way it adds a pop of brightness to the wall above our bed.

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The size I chose to make was probably a bit too big for the amount of wool I had leftover, but I like the way the “looser” pompom allows for the movement in the wool to be visible. It is the most amazingly soft, thick wool and I like that I can see its sort of curly texture.

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Feel like making a giant pompom or two this weekend?
Here is a tutorial.
(I used a rectangular cardboard piece cut out of a box, rather than using an embroidery hoop.)

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Let’s Go Shopping

…for my imaginary London pied a terre!
Of course it’s in a light-filled Hampstead garret– a bit out of the way, but worth it for the character of the ‘hood.
And I can always hop on the overground and travel a few stops to visit  LHR, Graphic Definer & Russell at Dalston Abbey.

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1. This sofa is Absolutely Perfect.
2. There is a reason this side table is ubiquitous– it looks great and the price is right!
(This one is pretty darned gorgeous, too. Perhaps I’ll take one of each!)
3. This fabric would make gorgeous toss cushions.
It’s from LHR’s friend D’s new shop, Fabricspark.
Check out her pretty, pretty fabrics– you won’t be sorry!

Chalk it up…

…to the joys of experimentation.

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I loved the old, worn, peeling paint on this Very Useful Hutch I bought a few years ago. But it was time for a face-lift in order to make the piece work as part of Project Dressing Room. For a long time, I wasn’t sure what, exactly, I wanted to do in terms of giving the hutch a makeover. I knew, however, that my good friend Annie Sloan would not let me down and I was right!  I did prime, just because I did not want to waste my pricey paint on the very old, very dry wood– I figured it would just drink up all that paint and I’d need 6 coats to cover! I did no sanding at all, though (I was worried about lead-based paint, as the piece is over 80 years old)– I just painted Old White on the inside and Graphite on the outside, right over all the old, chipping paint. There is a bit of texture in the final effect, which I quite like.

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I wanted the hutch to have a slightly quirky, whimsical touch, in keeping with the somewhat irreverent, modern/vintage mix I am aiming for in the dressing room. Enter NEON pink craft paint! I ended up mixing it with some of Annie’s Old White for more opaque coverage, as the craft paint was very sheer and streaky.

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Finally, I added some chalk drawings and a soupçon of French (“but well, there you go!”) to the front. I can erase it and change it up any time I like. Also, it’s easy to remove if I get tired of the look and I can quickly paint out the neon legs if I decide I want a more sober, traditional look one day in the future. In case I ever When I grow up.

Not only does it provide very useful storage for all my handbags,
the finished product also serves as an outstanding cat perch.

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Pretty in Pink

Here is the (mostly) finished dining room.  I wanted the space to be welcoming and contemporary, without being trendy, but to also respect my mum’s love of traditional style. I think the result is crisp and modern, feminine without being frilly, classic without being stuffy. I think part of why it works is that it is a small room that is not afraid to make a big, bold, colourful statement.

Design Brief:
Re-use all the (mismatched, outdated) furniture and the lovely chandelier. Replace the carpet. EDIT the very full storage cabinets and keep only the truly beautiful, useful items. Replace the skinny faux curtains with functioning ones, to allow for privacy in the evening. Take the room from dark, tired and dated to fresh, modern, feminine and bright.

We found the gorgeous stripe with the cherry branch print (I used it to make the statement curtains) and that drove our colour palette; all the colours in the room were drawn from the fabric. The walls are a smoky, lavender/grey, the ceiling is pale lilac under a wash of cream-coloured pearlescence, inspired by the ceilings of old Parisian bistros; the effect adds coziness in the evenings & a mellow warmth during the day, counterbalancing the cool colour of the walls. The wool carpet is a darker shade of the wall colour. The carpet and paint on the furniture, the two biggest investments in the room, are neutral colours, so my mum can change the fabric on the windows and the chairs in the future.

We updated my great-grandmother’s dining room suite with a coat of  warm cream spray-lacquer, opting for a pale lilac drawn from the cherry branch striped fabric for the inside of the hutch. Tip: if your painter tries to talk you out of something unusual, stick to your guns! I knew the lilac interior would make my mum’s (ruthlessly edited) collection of dishes and beloved figurines look AMAZING, so I had to really insist to the painter that I was right about it and please-and-thank-you could he just do it?  Rather than replace the hard-to-fit hardware, we just painted it in the same pale lilac, too!

The sideboard was a Goodwill find and getting our (actually very wonderful) painter to lacquer it in a high-gloss hot pink also took some convincing. It looks pretty great, though, right? I think it adds that oh-so-necessary sense of humour and fun to the room. Formal dining rooms can be so, well, formal.

The mosaic mirror adds sparkle and reflects light from the wall of windows. It also makes the room seem bigger and reflects the pretty contents of the hutch, so that diners on both sides of the table can see them.

More photos (including MUCH BETTER “before” pictures!) over here.