• Archive for April, 2013

    Country room: living room

    by  • 30/04/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Yesterday I was in the Yorkshire countryside on a photoshoot and I took the opportunity to take a quick walk through the Dales, admiring the beautiful flowers in the cottage gardens.

    At this time of year, you may be inspired to create a country living room that feels as if you’re taking a walk in the countryside or in your garden, and there are so many stunning fabrics around that reflect the seasons. The secret is to pick key classic pieces of furniture, then you can vary the look by changing the curtains and cushions.

    These lovely fabrics from Prestigious Textiles, in sugared almond shades and dusky muted tones, depict birds of paradise perched on blossom laden branches and flowers in bloom, as well as embroideries with a hand-worked lace motif and classic damasks, and can be used in either a country house or a small cottage to create a timeless look. Combine with a luxurious velvet sofa and distressed furniture for a scheme that’s the height of elegance.

    The Country House collection by Prestigious Textiles, prices start at £30 a metre for a floral print and matching stripe, £23 a metre for a co-ordinating plain, £42 a metre for a damask and £65 a metre for embroidered fabric

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    Country make: jolly jam jar vases

    by  • 28/04/2013 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Jam jars decorated with adhesive ribbon from Hobbycraft

    Jam jars decorated with adhesive ribbon from Hobbycraft

    Jazz up plain jam jars with pretty adhesive ribbon or tape to create lovely little vases and pots. Perfect for seasonal flowers or storing odds and ends

    You will need

    Jam jars – assorted sizes

    Self adhesive decorative ribbon or tape


    To make clean and thoroughly dry the jam jars. Take the ribbon or tape and with the backing still attached measure around the jar adding 1cm to the length for positioning. Remove the backing from the end of the tape and position on the jar. Tape around the jar carefully removing more of the backing as you work. Align the ends  and cut with the scissors to a neat finish.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try. Or, for more country crafts, recipes and room ideas, take a look at our new Country Home Ideas app.

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    Introducing Cloth & Clover

    by  • 26/04/2013 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Cloth & Clover are the new fabric brand on our radar thanks to a debut collection of four gorgeous designs, all printed on rustic linen in a variety of jolly spring colours from mellow pastels to rich earthy tones. The talent behind the designs is Tania McIvor who, with a background in designing home furnishings, decided to put a passion for print and textiles into action by creating her own collection.

    Reflecting Tania’s love of the English countryside the designs are all named after villages around Worcestershire where she grew up – what a lovely idea.

    Dormston is a garden inspired trailing floral; Pixley is an on-trend small scale geometric; The Littletons is a classic polka dot, that again is very on-trend for this season; and last but not least my personal favourite Peopleton, a playful figurative print of Mr Farmer and his animal friends – so cute!

    Fabrics from left, Peopleton, £68 a metre; Dormston, £68 a metre, by Cloth & Clover.

    Fabrics from left, Peopleton, £68 a metre; Dormston, £68 a metre, by Cloth & Clover.

    Cloth & Clover will be adding wallpapers and home accessories to the collection later this year, be sure to look out for them.

    The beautiful new collection by Cloth & Clover.

    The beautiful new collection by Cloth & Clover.

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    Country cooking with flowers

    by  • 25/04/2013 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Tulips make pretty, edible bowls for serving ice cream, sorbet and salads

    Now the weather is warming up thoughts are turning more to summery recipe ideas. Every year I love growing nasturtiums and adding the peppery scarlet petals to garden salads. I’m also a big fan of anything flavoured with aromatic rose or lavender – biscuits, cakes, tea and syrup for drizzling over ice cream. So I was excited to take delivery of the gorgeous new book Cooking with Flowers which turned up in the office this week. It’s packed with stunning ideas for edible flower recipes, although I’m not entirely sure about the Dandelion Muffins… It’s not just all about high summer though – there are things you can make right now too. Who would have thought it but it turns out tulips are edible. In the name of research I decided to try some and I can report they taste a little like fresh lettuce (apparently the paler the tulip the better they taste – I went for a cream coloured one from my garden). Add tulip petals to salads, drinks and appetizers for an interesting spin on fresh seasonal food. Now the sun is shining, the ice cream season is definitely here at last. My favourite at the moment is Yeo Valley Vanilla Dairy which is luxed up with Madagascan vanilla pods. How about this idea for serving  it…

    4 tulip blossoms, stamens and pistils removed
    4 large scoops ice-cream
    2-3 tablespoons tulip syrup

    To make the syrup:
    2 cups sugar
    1 cup water
    the petals of two tulips

    Prop each tulip in a container that will help it stand upright, such as an eggcup or champagne flute. Meanwhile to make the syrup, dissolve the sugar in water over medium heat, stirring occasionally until simmering. Place the petals in a glass bowl and pour the hot syrup over the top and let it stand for at least 30 minutes. Strain the mixture and discard the flowers. Floral syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 months. If it begins to crystallize, simply heat again until smooth. (Makes about 600ml.) To serve, place I large scoop of ice-cream in each tulip. Drizzle a little tulip syrup over each and place a few fresh berries on the top. Serve immediately.

    *Taken from Cooking with Flowers by Miche Bacher (£16.99, Quirk, for more info go to quirkbooks.com). For more luscious ice cream info, visit yeovalley.co.uk

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    Make a noticeboard

    by  • 24/04/2013 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Add a country touch to your homeworking corner or study with these lovely fabric-covered magnetic boards. We hung three in a row.

    The boards cost just £10 each from Ikea and the fabric is called Greta, from Sandberg’s Ofelia collection. You’ll see these in our out-soon June issue (on sale 2nd May), but if you can’t wait until then to have a go, why not have a sneak preview of the instructions? Happy sewing!

    Use the same fabric for each panel, or mix them up and have a theme for each.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try. Or for more country crafts, recipes and room ideas, why not try our Country Home Ideas app?

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    Vintage country bedroom

    by  • 23/04/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    With all the lovely blossom around at the moment, take a leaf from nature’s book and think pink when decorating a country bedroom.

    Introducing a soft rose pink shade to an otherwise all-white room creates a vintage feel and adds a warming touch at the same time. This classically elegant pink and ivory bedlinen from Christy, with its damask motif, for instance, is an easy way to provide a soft hit of pastel and is perfect for helping create a feminine boudoir, especially when teamed with sheets and pillowcases with a broderie anglais trim.

    Show the bedding off to its best advantage by displaying it on a simple white four poster bed, then layer up the bed with ever-so-plump pillows and a pretty floral cushion. Painted wooden floorboards keep the look simple and give it a Scandi edge.

    For an eclectic finishing touch, display a vintage postcard collection on the wall at the head of the bed and accessorise with floral tapestries propped up on a well-loved chest of drawers.

    Fyfield bedlinen from Christy starts at £79 for a single duvet and £25 for a pair of rectangular pillowcases

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    The pleasure of the washing line

    by  • 22/04/2013 • Country moment, Country style • 1 Comment

    Some people may call me sad, some people may think me mad, but I experienced great pleasure on Saturday morning from simply hanging out the washing! It was the perfect day for drying – clear blue skies, a gentle breeze and noticeable warmth in the sun. Of course, the simple act of hanging out my family’s ‘smalls’ was yet another benchmark that Spring is finally here…

    Needless to say, my washing line does not look as beautiful as this!

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    Sunday morning make…Windmill bunting

    by  • 21/04/2013 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Windmill-bunting made with felt, twine and fabric from a selection at Hobbycraft

    Windmill-bunting made with felt, twine and fabric from a selection at Hobbycraft

    Get ready to celebrate St George’s Day on the 23rd April and make pretty red and white windmill bunting to use to decorate your home.

    You will need

    Red and white fabric

    Red felt

    White felt

    Red and white twine

    Red and white  cotton



    Pinking sheers

    Fabric pen

    To make draw one 6cm diameter circle on the striped fabric. Cut out with pinking sheers. Draw one 5cm diameter circle on the red felt and cut out with scissors. To make the windmill cut into the felt circle snipping it at quarters points but not completely cutting through the centre. Taking the needle and red cotton, insert through the middle of the felt circle from the back. Take the bottom right hand side of a cut quarter fold over into the centre, and thread the needle through the corner tip to secure in place. Repeat with the remaining quarters to create a windmill then pull the cotton tight and secure them all in place with a stitch. Cut cotton and tie off. Make a contrasting cross stitch on the windmill with the white cotton and needle then secure the back of the windmill onto the centre of the striped circle with a couple of stitches. Finally position on the bakers twine approximately 6cm in from the end and secure in place with a couple more stitches. Repeat process with the white felt and position windmill decoration about 6cm along twine from the first. Repeat along the length of twine until desired length is reached.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try. Or, for more country crafts, recipes and room ideas, take a look at our new Country Home Ideas app.

    Read more →