• Archive for February, 2010

    Dreaming of warmer days…

    by  • 26/02/2010 • Country style • 6 Comments

    After one of the longest and coldest winters on record I can’t wait for the warmer weather to begin. When this beautiful image from Lexington‘s Spring Collection landed on my desk it was a breath of fresh air and I found myself looking forward to lazy days relaxing in the garden. I love this combination of blue and white teamed with vintage garden accessories – the perfect country style. Now that the days are getting lighter spring doesn’t seem so far away.

    Lexington Stamp cushion, from £60; Linen throw, £120.


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    Run your own business

    by  • 25/02/2010 • Country business, Country style • 2 Comments

    I’ve had a lovely email from Jane Field, who is featured in our March issue (on sale at the moment). Jane owns Jonny’s Sister, a company she set up to sell letter-shaped cushions and accessories. Like many of us, Jane was looking for a simple business idea that she could run from her country Dorset home, when she had her eureka moment walking on a beach. Jane’s story obviously had an effect on you all. She writes, ‘We have been overwhelmed by the response we have received. Not only loads of orders but just lovely emails from your readers!’

    Jane Field in her log cabin office!

    Jane Field in her log cabin office!

    If, like me, you secretly wish you could do what Jane has done, then you should enter our “Run your own country business’ competition. In conjunction with Business Smiths, the small business experts, we are looking to help one lucky reader get her idea off the ground with a £6000 package of professional advice to get you started. Click here to download an entry form. Good luck!

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    How to create a country kitchen

    by  • 24/02/2010 • Country style • 2 Comments

    Looking for ways to create your dream country kitchen? Just before I went on holiday, I filmed this short video for housetohome.co.uk. In this short video, I share my five key ingredients for the ultimate country kitchen, and reveal plenty of style tips on the way. Click below to take a look…

    [brightcove vid=67002301001&exp3=8385892001&surl=http://c.brightcove.com/services&pubid=8385557001&w=486&h=412]

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    Try a Clothkits stitch project

    by  • 24/02/2010 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    If, like me, you like your sewing simple, I know you’ll be excited to rediscover Clothkits. Clothkits are sew-at-home projects that include children’s and adults’ clothing, accessories, rag dolls, and much more. The Clothkits company was relaunched by Kay Mawer a few years ago with fabulously cheerful designs that are just the ticket as we emerge from the winter blues into spring. The kits include everything you’ll need for your project including fabric, lining, thread, trimmings and instructions (you supply the sewing machine, tape measure, scissors and a little time) but the very best thing about them is that they don’t include paper patterns… all the cutting and seam allowances are printed on the fabrics for you! Ah, what bliss. They make terrific gifts-with-a-difference and my favourite is the Cloth Kitty Rag Doll

    Visit the Clothkits website for great gift ideas

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    Snow and sun

    by  • 12/02/2010 • Country moment • 3 Comments

    Lots of apologies for not blogging much this week – I haven’t had a lot of spare time what with the extra snow down here in Sussex. My kids were sledging on the beach this morning while I was skidding along the roads making my way to the Country Homes offices in London.

    I have spent my week at work planning and commissioning some great summer issues for you (yes, we really do start preparing now for the June and July issues). The rest of my lovely staff have also been busy: Claire Dorey, our Assistant editor, has been skillfully shooting a June ‘Summer meadows’ decorating shoot in the Cotswolds; Vivienne Ayers, our Houses editor, has been out photographing houses in Essex and Cumbria; and Deputy editor Sara Bird has been making and creating really lovely summer craft and makes ideas for you. So watch this space!

    All this talk of warm weather has made me sneek off to seek a bit of winter sun in Lanzarote with my family, so I am signing off until Tuesday 22nd February. I can’t quite imagine swimming in the sea and sitting on the beach, especially when I look at these pictures taken this week…

    Me wrapped up

    Me wrapped up
    Me, Jamie and Will heading off to sledge

    Me, Jamie and Will heading off to sledge

    The lakes up the road

    The lakes up the road

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    Felt plum

    by  • 10/02/2010 • Country craft • 3 Comments

    Blogger Rachel Drewett has combined her love of design and felt crafts to create Felt Plum, where she gathers her favourite ideas in one place as ‘plum pickings from the world of all things felt’.

    The blog is a great way to find links to other crafters and explore Etsy shops, books and tutorials from around the web. Or just have a browse through loads of gorgeous and inspirational makes!

    Also check out her other blog, Rachel Drewett Textiles and visit Felt Things to find kits and see more of her pretty accessories. 

    Find great craft ideas at Felt Plum

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    Willow sculptures

    by  • 05/02/2010 • Country moment • 1 Comment

    Willow is an amazing natural material as I have discovered recently. While researching the use of willow in living garden structures such as tunnels and domes I came across Caroline Gregson‘s lovely work. She uses coppiced willow, some of which she grows and harvests locally, to create really beautiful animal sculptures.

    ‘I have loved and been inspired by the natural world since I was a child,’ says Caroline, ‘and the ability to make willow sculptures representing the essence of animals, birds and other living forms now brings me great pleasure.’

    I  think they would make a talking point in a country garden…

    Willow deer and fawn

    Willow deer and fawn from Caroline Gregson

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    Crafts, food, books, design

    by  • 03/02/2010 • Country craft, Country food, Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    I’ve been really looking forward to sharing this fabulous, multi-layered blog with you. Created by Londoner Rohini Wahi, The Beat That My Heart Skipped is a visually stunning collection of her favourite things, which include inspirational crafts and design, great books she’s read, irresistible recipes and beautiful, beautiful photographs. There are interviews with crafty types (My Inside Life) and even travel guides (Notes From) – it’s an online treasure trove. I love it.

    A charming Valentine’s idea:

    Tea for your Valentine from The Beat That My Heart Skipped

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    Cath Kidston’s Make!

    by  • 02/02/2010 • Country style • 0 Comments

    As you know, we all love making and creating pretty things here at Country Homes & Interiors and I suspect many of you who read this blog are just the same. So you can imagine the buzz of excitement when we had a look at the preview copy of Cath Kidston’s new Make! book. Out this week – 5 Feb – you’ll find 30 cheerful home furnishings projects and designs in this lovely book. Happy sewing!

    Cath Kidston's new Make!

    Cath Kidston's new Make!

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    Garden tidy

    by  • 01/02/2010 • Country moment • 4 Comments

    I have been itching to get out into the garden and have a good old tidy up. And the beautifully cold but sunny weather this weekend, gave me the opportunity to don my ancient gardening coat and sneak out for an hour. Before I knew it I was happily hacking away at our enormous phormium (that just seems to get bigger and bigger), clearing beds of ancient leaves, trimming back grasses and pulling up the skeletons of last year’s tomatoes. The garden now looks ready for the year to come…

    Funnily enough everyone I chatted to this weekend, also had similar ideas. My friend Karen is planning a new look to her cottage front garden; Janine is yearning for bright orange cannas in her borders; Louisa is hankering after an outdoor sofa for her deck area.

    With signs in the night sky that Spring is moving into the Northern Hemisphere and the birds starting to sing in the morning, I sense a little bit of Spring fever entering our veins.

    Ooohh how exciting!

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