• Archive for August, 2012

    Made with Love by Charlotte Fleming

    by  • 31/08/2012 • Country style • 0 Comments

    There’s something rather endearing about simple hand drawn illustrations. Perfectly demonstrated by the collection of visual delights below, all from a company called Made with Love by Charlotte Fleming.

    The artist, Charlotte, works from her studio in the heart of Topsham, Devon. Taking inspiration from her beautiful surroundings, you’ll notice the maritime theme running throughout her collection, from lobsters to lighthouses. The quaint designs featuring on tea towels, napkins, wall prints and mugs – are all ink drawings printed directly from the original artwork to retain the character of free hand illustration.

    I love how even the simplest of objects can be given Charlotte’s hand sketched magical touch – the knife and fork design is one of my particular favourites.

    Lots of lovely things made with love by Charlotte Fleming.

    Lots of lovely things made with love by Charlotte Fleming.

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    Crumpet time

    by  • 30/08/2012 • Country food, Uncategorized • 1 Comment

    Home made semolina crumpets

    There was a nip in the air this morning (sad but true) and thoughts are turning to all things autumnal. I’m not a huge fan of mass-produced crumpets so wanted to try out this recipe for the densely textured homemade variety – oh my what a difference. These are especially good served with homemade bramble jam (it’s not too late to get out to see what’s on offer in the hedgerows). So easy to do, don’t worry if the batter looks uncooked, as you will be toasting them before serving. Back in the day you could buy specially-made crumpet rings (and toasting forks for doing them fireside, very Downtonesque) but these are now hard to find – unless you know otherwise?

    To make 8-10 crumpets, you will need…

    125g strong plain bread flour
    125g fine semolina
    1 teaspoon golden caster sugar
    1 tablespoon dried yeast
    50g unsalted butter, for cooking

    4 egg cooking rings, each about 8–10 cm diameter, well greased

    1 Put the flour, semolina, sugar and yeast in the blender. With the motor running, add 325ml warm water and continue to blend for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and blend for a further 30 seconds so the mixture is free of lumps. Pour into a large bowl, cover with clingfilm and set aside in a warm place for 45–60 minutes, until the mixture is very frothy and bubbly.

    2 Generously grease a heavy-based frying pan (or cast iron griddle pan if you have one) with butter and set over a high heat. Sit the prepared egg cooking rings in the pan and ladle about 125ml of the crumpet mixture into each ring. Cook for 4–5 minutes, until bubbles form on the top and the sticky dough on the top has dried. Do not turn over. Transfer the cooked crumpets to a wire rack to cool and continue until all the batter has been used, regreasing the pan each time.

    3 Preheat the grill to high. Lightly toast the tops of the crumpets, until golden. Serve hot with fruit jam and whipped cream.

    This recipe was taken from Cooking with Wholefoods by Ross Dobson (£16.99, Ryland Peters & Small), out on Monday. This is a dead cert to become your go-to for inspired seasonal dishes that are perfect for autumn going into winter. Photograph by Peter Cassidy

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    A riot of flowers

    by  • 29/08/2012 • Country style, Uncategorized • 2 Comments

    A while ago I was shown the new wallpaper collection by Borastapeter and one design caught my eye, Vintage – a chintzy rose design with a 40’s feel, which felt right for now with its fresh colour palette. I got to thinking about all things rosy and thought it a great subject for, our main decorating feature, Chintz rules, pages 62-68 Oct issue of Country Homes & Interiors.

    This fabric design originated in India, was printed from woodblocks and was extremely expensive. Modern designs are more earthy and affordable, suiting a bric-a-brac style of decorating where new, worn and old, vintage, antique and quirky market finds all blend together into a pretty take on shabby chic. We’ve injected our scheme with a touch of apple green paintwork to bring it out of the realms of conventional shabby chic whites. We’ve switched the living room chairs from this charming patchwork one to a rocking chair in our actual issue to give you more decorating ideas, so do take a peek.

    Vintage wallpaper, ref 610, £36 a roll; Vintage border, ref 11601, £36 a roll, both BorasTapeter.

    Vintage wallpaper, ref 610, £36 a roll; Vintage border, ref 11601, £36 a roll, both BorasTapeter.

    Astor Loose cover wing back chair, £2,870, The Odd Chair Company. Nest of 3 tables, £185, Nice Thing at Folksy.  Lucky chair, £595, The Sleep Room.

    Astor Loose cover wing back chair, £2,870, The Odd Chair Company. Nest of 3 tables, £185, Nice Thing at Folksy. Lucky chair, £595, The Sleep Room.

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    French style bedroom

    by  • 28/08/2012 • Country style • 1 Comment

    The beautiful house of Gill Kendrick,  featured in the October issue of Country Homes & Interiors, out on 30th August,  shows French country style off to a tee.

    In fact, it almost felt like stepping into a house on the other side of the Channel as Gill loves all things French and hunts down various chic finds when she goes over there.

    It was a tough decision as to which was my favourite room, but  the light and airy main bedroom was definitely a strong contender. Gill has added to the wow factor of the room’s architecture with a gorgeous antique French bed, layered up with throws and cushions for opulence. The neutral colour palette creates the kind of calm scheme that’s perfect for a relaxing bedroom.

    A chic upholstered antique French bed is the focal point of the scheme

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    Garden party moodboard

    by  • 24/08/2012 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Have you had a go at making your own moodboards on Housetohome yet?

    In the September issue my shopping focus was on celebrating special occasions, from country weddings to garden parties – and moodboards are a great way to plan and visualise ideas to make sure your party is perfect.

    I’ve made a moodboard to help set the scene for entertaining over the bank holiday weekend. We’d love to know what’s inspiring you to make moodboards.

    Why not share your moodboards on Housetohome and with friends on Facebook and Twitter?

    My moodboard to set the scene for entertaining over the bank holiday weekend

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    Ice cream sandwiches…

    by  • 23/08/2012 • Country food • 2 Comments

    It’s such a simple idea why didn’t anyone think of it before – hot off the press, The Ice Cream Sandwiches Book (£12.99, Ebury Press) from Buttercup Cake Shop founder Donna Egan just landed on my desk. Simply bake a batch of fresh biscuits and sandwich some home made ice cream in the middle. The recipe for these Lemon Ginger Gems had my name all over it…

    To make 16 Soft Ginger Cookies, you will need…

    90g butter
    200g granulated sugar
    1 egg
    45ml golden syrup
    280g plain flour
    2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    ½ tsp salt
    1½ tsp ground ginger
    1¼ tsp ground cinnamon

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and 150g of the sugar until well combined. Beat in the egg and syrup until smooth. In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture, blending until combined. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Roll the dough into balls about 4cm in diameter. Roll each ball in the remaining granulated sugar. Use the bottom of a glass to flatten each cookie to about 8cm in diameter. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets, 5cm apart, for 4-6 minutes (7– 8 minutes if you’re just wanting to eat the biscuits) or until the cookies are puffed and the tops are cracked. Remove immediately onto a cooling rack.

    To make 700ml Lemon Ice Cream, you will need…

    360ml whipping cream
    115g granulated white sugar
    60ml fresh lemon juice (about 1½–2 lemons)
    5 tsp grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)

    Put the cream, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a medium bowl, and beat using an electric mixer, until completely combined and slightly thickened. Be sure to scrape any zest off the beaters and stir back into the cream mixture with a spoon or spatula before freezing. Pour into an airtight plastic container, leaving space at the top as the mixture will expand as it freezes. Freeze for at least 2 hours.

    And now make your sandwich…

    Once the cookies have cooled, spoon some of the lemon ice cream onto the flat side of one cookie (the side that was touching the cookie sheet), and gently place the second cookie on top, flat-side down, pressing gently into place. Put the sandwiches – without stacking – in an airtight plastic container and freeze for at least 1 hour. Take out of the freezer immediately before serving. And voila – little sandwiches of loveliness that are perfect for a little mid-afternoon pick me up on a hot day…

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    How to sew a lace-trim tablecloth

    by  • 22/08/2012 • Country craft • 1 Comment

    If you’re anything like me you’ll have a little stash of fabric about the house that you’ve been meaning to do something with for months. Well, you no longer have an excuse…

    This fabulous tablecloth idea features in Country Homes and Interiors’ October 2012 issue and is perfect for using up fabric offcuts that are too small for curtains and a shame to chop into for cushions.

    The fabric we’ve used is Sugar Plum Belgian linen from Celia Birtwell and it’s a wonderfully modern take on a traditional floral. The lace is vintage and came from Lunn Antiques. But the beauty of this sewing project is that it’s so simple it can work with any fabric and trim combination – just see what you’ve got in your cupboard and give it a go.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try.

    The bolder the fabric design the better…

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    Grey country kitchen

    by  • 21/08/2012 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Grey is  the new white and can look fabulous in a country kitchen as this one demonstrates. The units make a statement without looking industrial and the cup pull handles add signature country style.

    A wall of glazed cabinets is a great idea if you have the space, lending an air of informality as well as allowing you to display lovely bits and pieces (and find everything easily!).

    The white brick tiles and retro lights keeps the look light, while black and white tiles create a classic chequerboard floor.

    Meanwhile, the utensil hanging racks on the wall nearby add the perfect country finishing touch.

    The grey Lidingo doorfronts and Faktum cabinet frames from Ikea start at £1,485

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    Mild country tones

    by  • 20/08/2012 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Decorating with neutrals doesn’t have to mean plain. It can be the opportunity to layer up patterns with very soothing results. Because we love pattern at Country Homes & Interiors we loved doing this story for our August issue. The beauty of a style like this is it can be organic – you can build up a collection of patterned accessories over time, from ceramics to cushions, mixing well thought out purchases, such as wallpaper, with more impulsive buys such as holiday finds, such as Hamman towels and tablecloths.

    Florette throw, as a cloth, Les Indiennes.

    Florette throw, as a cloth, Les Indiennes.

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