• Archive for January, 2015

    Meet Katie Leamon

    by  • 21/01/2015 • Country business, Country style • 0 Comments

    Katie Leamon | Country Days | Country Homes and Interiors  When it comes to sending feel-good cards, we opt for Katie Leamon’s nostalgic designs every time – her signature illustrative style is guaranteed to raise a smile. Launched back in 2011, her luxury stationery is now sold in shops across the world, including Selfridges, Anthropologie and Harrods. She’s dropped by to talk us through her inspiration and traditional making methods…

    What made you want to become a designer?
    I have always known I would work in design. I love to draw and create beautiful things, so I think it’s been a natural evolution for me from school and college. I worked in fashion straight from university, but decided to follow my preferred route of graphics and illustration and to apply it to a medium that I have always had a more effortless understanding of.

    Describe your design and making process.
    I start with sketches and doodles. I then modify them so they can be applied to stamps, or modify them accordingly for notebooks & wraps. The cards are handprinted using polymer stamps and packaged in-house at our production studio in rural Essex.

    What inspires you?
    I am lucky that I am constantly inspired by my own collections. As soon as I launch something new I’m looking for ways to develop and evolve it. I also take great inspirations from vintage typography, signage and nostalgic paraphernalia.

    What’s your business ethos?
    I work very hard and ensure I remain true to the brands identity even when it can be challenging.

    What’s next?
    I have some new and exciting designs up my sleeve, which I hope will tie together some of our current collections. I want to develop a hard-back journal soon, as well as work on more illustrative designs. I have a long list of ideas, it’s just finding the time to make them happen!

    Describe your creative style in three words.
    Considered, tangible and understated.

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    Be inspired by a dream kitchen

    by  • 20/01/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Country kitchen Country Days Country Homes and Interiors

    If your new year’s resolution is to treat yourself to a new country kitchen, take inspiration from this dreamy design from Humphrey Munson.

    It’s a contemporary take on a classic painted kitchen featuring two tones of grey – a pale shade on the units and a darker one used to highlight the island.

    Islands are still big as the hub of the kitchen and this one has a sink, as well as a prep area, plus space to pull up stylish rattan bar stools for a quick cuppa. The island becomes a stunning feature when it’s finished off with a trio of metal pendant lights overhead.

    We’re also loving that handy alcove by the range for condiment storage… what a great idea!

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    Enjoy the beauty of holly

    by  • 19/01/2015 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Country Days, Country Homes and Interiors, HollyOut and about this weekend, Country Days was struck by how beautiful variegated holly is looking right now in the countryside. While other shrubs are fast asleep, the two-tone Ilex aquifoliums are wide awake and wowing us with their leaf shape and colour. Look out for ‘Madame Briot’ and  ‘Golden Queen’ – both small, bushy evergreens with spiny leaves and bold golden-yellow margins. Take your pick and you’ll be sure of a brighter day.

    What’s your favourite winter tree or shrub at the moment?

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    Make the perfect picture

    by  • 18/01/2015 • Country craft • 1 Comment

    Craft hanging frames | Country Days | Country Homes and Interiors

    A cold winter’s day is the perfect time to get creative by making your own pictures. Display photos, postcards, vintage stamps or flora and fauna found on country walks in these stylish double-sided frames from Decorator’s Notebook. Quick and easy to do, it’s a lovely way of injecting personality into a room. What’s more, it’s easy to update, so can be changed along with your interior. Firm down edges with pretty paper tape (Paperchase have a nice range) and hang frames in groups of three for a picture perfect finish.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects  for you to try. Or for more country crafts, see our latest issue.

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    Artist in residence: Looking

    by  • 17/01/2015 • Artist in residence • 0 Comments

    Country Days, Country Homes & Interiors, Arists in residenceAt the start of the New Year, Country Days’ Artist in residence sent us this lovely watercolour. ‘This is called Looking,’ says the Dorset-based artist Sarah Hough. ‘I’ve had a lot of fun over the holidays but it’s good to be back. I’ve missed heading out on a walk with my sketchbook. Observation, imagination and experimentation.’

    We’re looking forward to seeing more of Sarah’s pictures in 2015 – you can see more here.

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    Light up the dark…

    by  • 17/01/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    A_Northern_Light_on_Country_Days

    If ever there was time for mood lighting…it has to be the dark evenings of January! We found just the thing earlier this week in the beautifully illustrated lighting collection from A Northern Light (spotted at the Craft exhibition).

    The designs are all inspired by nature with picturesque drawings of wildlife, landscapes and foliage; we love this tall lamp featuring a Barn Owl perched on a snowy tree stump (above).  The illustrations are printed onto heavy parchment paper that allows the light to illuminate the artwork to create such stunning visuals.

    You can choose any of the designs to be made into lamps, lampshades or candle covers; all perfect solutions for adding a warming glow to your country home this winter.

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    Go for a walk along a disused railway track

    by  • 16/01/2015 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Railway walks | Country Days | Country Homes and Interiors

    Disused railway lines, tunnels and stations have become a commonplace feature in the UK, winding their way through some of our most beautiful countryside. Flat, safe and mostly traffic-free, many have now become lovely walking trails, perfect for blowing out the cobwebs – just what’s needed at this time of year. Lace up your boots and pop on your waterproof, here’s our top three…

    Cuckoo Trail, Sussex
    This 14-mile walk follows the former ‘Cuckoo Line’ railway track from Heathfield to Eastbourne Park. See surrounding countryside framed in the arches of old railway bridges, as well as birds, butterflies and plenty of other wildlife. A surfaced path and plenty of rest points make it a great choice for families.

    Camel Trail, Cornwall
    Once described by English poet, John Betjeman, as “the most beautiful railway journey I know”, this 18-mile route runs alongside the Camel Estuary, providing wonderful views of creeks and rocky shores. Keep your eyes peeled for wintering wildfowl including long-tailed and goldeneye ducks.

    Monsal Trail, Peak District
    If you’ve got a passion for history, this is the route for you. Discover astonishing structures and buildings along the eight-mile trail between Bakewell and Blackwell Mill – old cotton mills and ancient lime-kilns are a reflection of the area’s industrial past. Take in sights of the Peak District’s most spectacular limestone dales as you go.

    Looking for more weekend ideas and inspiration? Sign up to Country Post, a weekly newsletter from us to you every Friday.

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    Let’s eat cake

    by  • 15/01/2015 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Ginger Cake

    It’s January so you can’t move for healthy eating options. Salads without any interesting bits to zhush them up and green smoothies (blended kale and cucumber for breakfast – really?) seem to be a talking point at the moment but two weeks in and we are so over diets here at Country Days. This ginger cake is sort of healthy anyway – it doesn’t have frosting or sprinkles.

    Serves 6–8

    110g butter
    170g black treacle
    80g golden syrup
    225g plain flour
    55g dark brown sugar
    1 tsp mixed spice
    2 tsp ground ginger
    1 tsp sodium bicarbonate
    125ml milk
    1 medium free range egg

    Grease and line two 15cm x 10cm [about 8.5cm deep] cake tins and set aside. Preheat the oven to 150°C, 130°C fan, 300°F, gas 2. Gently melt the butter, treacle and syrup and stir to combine. Place in the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attached. Sieve the flour, brown sugar, mixed spice, ginger and sodium bicarbonate together and gradually add to the syrup mix until well combined. Add the milk and then the egg. Divide the mix between the cake tins and bake for approximately one hour or until a wooden skewer comes out of the cake clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the tins. Serve a slice with a freshly brewed cup of tea… and a piece of fruit if desired.

    *This recipe comes from The Chef Recipes Collection, new from Caple. This is their first hardback cookbook and you can order your copy online at caple.co.uk

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    Whimsical wildlife

    by  • 14/01/2015 • Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    StylesetterWhinberryandAntler_CountryDays_CountryHomesandInteriors

    Whinberry & Antler sells textiles and homewares inspired by heritage style and British wildlife. Every design is  hand-drawn and screen-printed by Jacinta Walton from her studio near Frome in rural Somerset. She’s stopped by for a quick chat…

    What inspires you?
    Walking my dog through fields and woodlands, listening to birds sing on summer mornings, chancing upon a little roe deer in a field… taking a moment to just sit and watch the countryside; that’s my biggest inspiration.

    Describe your workspace.
    I work from home in a small village called Nunney in Somerset. Half of the house has become a studio workspace, one room has become the print room with my huge print table, hand built by my husband. I do as much sewing as I can in our conservatory so that I can look out into the garden and enjoy lots of natural light whilst my Welsh Terrier, Olo, snoozes by the log burner.

    What do you love about what you do?
    I love the excitement of pulling the ink through the screen to reveal a design for the first time. One of the biggest highlights of my job is when a customer gets in touch after they have received their order just to say how much they love it – that always makes my day!

    What makes your business special?
    Each design is completely original and hand-drawn. It’s also important to me that all materials are sourced from within the UK where possible – the cotton is manufactured by a Yorkshire Mill, the woven labels are made in Wales and the new ceramics range is made in Stoke on Trent.

    What’s next for you? 
    Over the next year I would like to expand the ceramics range to create a full dinner set that can be mixed and matched between different designs.

    Describe your creative style in three words.
    Delicate, Natural and British.

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    Dine in style

    by  • 13/01/2015 • Country style • 3 Comments

    Ready_Country Days country dining room Country Homes & Interiors

    Here at Country Days, nature-inspired decor always catches our eye, and we loved this hint-of-spring country dining room with its beautiful bird motif wallpaper.

    Use statement paper such as this on a feature wall and make it the star of the show by combining with neutrals to keep the look calm.

    Here, upholstered button-back chairs introduce a sense of sumptuousness  to the scheme while a classic painted table with a stunning oak marquetry top combines informal farmhouse-style with a touch of elegance.

    Such a stunning table demands understated decoration. An on-trend crochet runner brings just the right amount of adornment, especially when teamed with white china.

    Find the furniture, wallpaper and accessories featured at Marks & Spencer.

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