• Archive for March, 2013

    Country business: Redhound for Dogs

    by  • 09/03/2013 • Country business, Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    To celebrate the launch of our Country Business of the Year 2013 competition for the fourth year running, we are touching base with some of the winners and runners-up from previous years…

    Debbie Humphrys from Kent was a runner-up in 2011. Her business Redhound for Dogs, provides quality, stylish and affordable products for dogs, which she was inspired to start up when Bruno, Debbie’s beloved whippet, came into her life…

    Top: Debbie. Above left: Dartmoor wax cotton dog coats. Above right: waterproof cotton dog coat. £36.50 each

    What did being shortlisted for the competition mean to you? I received the call to tell me that we were runners up while we were in the middle of a very busy show, and feeling rather exhausted. My spirits were immediately lifted and I really felt like we had won! It gave me huge confidence that what I was trying to achieve really could succeed, and the recognition that my designs and branding were commercial and appealing.

    How have you developed the brand? We have always attended upmarket shows, such as Burghley Horse Trials, in order to promote the brand, and backed up with upmarket promotional material, postcards and leaflets. This has certainly paid off. We were invited to sell on Not on the High Street  in late 2011, and this has given us access to many more on line customers. I do lots of social media, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and this too pays dividends. All my stationary, labels and packaging are of the highest quality as I think this endorses the brand, and our little dog logo is quite eyecatching!

    What’s your long term goal? We have attended two trade shows now, and have 13 stockists – our latest being Hawkshead. We have done some samples for an upmarket shop in Mayfair with a view to working in collaboration with them. My long term goal is for Redhound for Dogs to be known for quality and style, and for it to be accessible to many customers and working with the larger retailers can help us achieve this. I would also like to publish a book of hand knitted dog jumpers and I am launching a range of dog jumper knitting kits in the autumn.

    If you have an idea or are starting up your own business, enter our competition to win free small business advice from School for Startups.

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    Screen Printing with Thornback & Peel

    by  • 08/03/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    It’s official – I’ve fallen in love with screen printing!

    This week I perfected the craft with an evening of screen printing hosted by Thornback & Peel, at the Cockpit Arts. Have a look behind the scenes and see what I made here…

    1. Choosing the fabric and print design to work with 2. Me in action doing my screen-thing 3. Hanging them out to dry for the professionals to sew into....4. My Wonderful bespoke cushion.

    1. Choosing the fabric and print design to work with 2. Me in action doing my screen-thing 3. Hanging them out to dry for the professionals to sew into….4. My Wonderful bespoke cushion.

    The doors opened to the first Thornback & Peel shop (Below) at the end of last year in Bloomsbury, London. It’s a real joy to visit – bursting with the instantly recognisable home accessories by the talented duo, Juliet Thornback and Delia Peel.

    The fabulous Thornback & Peel shop in London.

    The fabulous shop immerses you in the whimsical world that is Thornback & Peel.

    Of the lovely new designs my favourite is the pink Lobster  (seen below)– there is also a jaunty Pig, an elegant Pheasant and a cheeky red Squirrel.

    Goldfish & Coral linen cushion, £68.50; Tea towels, from £12.95, all Thornback & Peel.

    Goldfish & Coral linen cushion, £68.50; Tea towels, from £12.95, all Thornback & Peel.

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    It’s pie week…

    by  • 07/03/2013 • Country food • 0 Comments

    I was very excited when an invitation arrived to go to lunch at a country pub with James Martin and even more so when I found out it was to celebrate the launch of his new pie range for Vintage Inns. It goes without saying the pies are delicious and made with the very best quality ingredients (big tick). Pies are big news at the moment – this week is British Pie Week and there are all sorts of events going on around the country. My favourite is Homity Pie, which I always thought was American but I’ve just discovered it is in fact a traditional British vegetable pie ( in case you’re not familiar, it’s an open case pie with a filling of potatoes, leeks and onion, covered with cheese). What’s yours? PS James is a huge fan of all things country and likes nothing better than walking his clumber spaniel Fudge.

    James exclusive new range of pies launches in Vintage Inns on Wednesday 19th March. For more information go to www.vintageinn.co.uk

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    Wool House Exhibition

    by  • 06/03/2013 • Country craft, Country moment, Country style • 1 Comment

    If you love wool as much as we do, you’ll be delighted to hear about Wool House which opens from 13th – 24th March. Heralded as the biggest ever wool exhibition, it is launched by the Campaign for Wool to profile the wonderful range and use of wool and woollen products.

    Occupying the west wing of Somerset House in London, it offers a truly inspiring insight into the wonderful world of wool with stunning displays of fashion, art, textiles, home wares, flooring, furnishing, and wool crafts. There are stylish room sets to see by designer names including Ashley Hicks, Josephine Ryan and Kit Kemp, as well as a series of wool-led designer talks, events and a programme of activities including our fantastic crochet workshop held in association with Rowan on the 15th March. Normal opening hours are 10am till 6pm but on craft days the exhibition will be open till 7pm.

    Woollen knits from the Wool House Exhibition. Photography by Chris Everard, styling by Arabella McNie.

    Woollen knits from the Wool House Exhibition. Photography by Chris Everard, styling by Arabella McNie.

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    Pretty country kitchen

    by  • 05/03/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Here’s a country kitchen that’s just right for the start of spring as it brings to mind the host of golden daffodils that are soon to appear…

    White painted cabinets with wooden worksurfaces and bun handles are a staple of country kitchen style, and a great way to add a splash of seasonal colour is by putting up cheerful roller blinds (such as these from Hillarys), teamed with toning china and posies of flowers, and mixing in typical country fabrics such as polka dots and gingham.

    Other classic ingredients, such as the wicker storage baskets and butler sink, emphasise the country look, while a fabric curtain hides the under-the-sink storage and brings a homely touch.

    Clara Lemon roller blind, prices start at £65 (61cm width x 76cm depth) measured, made and fitted, from Hillarys

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    Sunday morning make…floral bouquet

    by  • 03/03/2013 • Country craft, Country moment, Country style • 1 Comment

    We love flowers here, and sending a floral bouquet is a lovely idea for a Mother’s Day gift. But what if you want to create a bespoke arrangement and send it yourself? This has just got a lot easier with Interflora’s fantastic new online design tool Myinterfloracreation.co.uk

    Using the on-line software you can create your own bespoke bouquet with a drag and drop tool. There are over 70 different flowers and foliage varieties plus a choice of vases and accessories to make your arrangement really unique. Once the bouquet is designed, you can save and share the image before having the real bouquet made up and delivered. A great way to get involved with the creative process before handing over to a real florist to make up your bouquet. Here’s one I made earlier!

    Floral arrangement by Myinterfloracreation.co.uk

    Floral arrangement by Myinterfloracreation.co.uk

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    Shop of the Month… Aston Pottery

    by  • 02/03/2013 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    There’s nothing like a leisurely amble around a Cotswold market town with inspirational art galleries, tempting restaurants and wonderful independent shops to offer. I recently had the pleasure of discovering all of these in Woodstock…

    Woodstock Oxfordshire

    Close by, I recommend the wonderful Aston Pottery – a showcase of fine English pottery and gift shopping with a garden and country-style café too. Look out for Mother’s Day treats next week or make plans to visit the lofty Auricula Theatre from 11th April to 31st May featuring more than 200 hand-stencilled jugs displayed on stepped shelves…

    Be sure to explore the surrounding area too; Blenheim Palace nestles at the gateway to the town with its magnificent Baroque-style architecture and Capability Brown gardens. Or enjoy country drives in this beautiful region, guaranteed to bring the feel-good-factor any time of year…

    Read more about Woodstock in our April issue, on sale next Thursday!

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    Thread Drawn by Tobyboo

    by  • 01/03/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    There are those that can hand draw beautiful illustrations, there are those that create wonderful things with a sewing machine, then there is Tina Crawford who cleverly combines both talents to create charming home accessories at Tobyboo.

    ‘I love free embroidery, it’s like handwriting. I literally get the fabric under the needle and ‘draw’. I love the wobbles, loose threads and accidents, to me they all add charm and originality to the illustration’– Tina Crawford

    Textile illustrator Tina has developed her unique personal style drawing freehand with a sewing machine, skillfully using the needle like a pen. She was inspired by an embroidery course, where she learned to break the rules and work more freely; the results are her whimsical designs which are transferred onto delicate china tea sets, cushions, tea towels and lampshades.

    Behind the scenes with Tobyboo. (top right)Oranges & Lemons cushion cover, £40 (bottom left) Gull 'n' Chips china jug, £30; Gull notebook, £10; Wish You Were here placemat; Wish You Were Here bag, £17, all Tobyboo.

    Behind the scenes with Tobyboo. (top right)Oranges & Lemons cushion cover, £40 (bottom left) Gull ‘n’ Chips china jug, £30; Gull notebook, £10; Wish You Were here placemat; Wish You Were Here bag, £17, all Tobyboo.

    The best thing about Tina’s creations, compared to other designs of this nature, is that her quirky illustrations are not sketched out first on paper and reproduced they are added directly onto fabric so no two pieces are the same.

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