For some of the projects in my book The Homemade Home for Children, I made several variations but there just wasn’t space to show them all within the book. So I thought it would be interesting to show you some of the ones that we didn’t photograph for the book. They are extensions of the projects, helping to show how the basic idea can be taken and interpreted in different ways to create unique items for your home. Shown here is a variation of the Graphic Box project on pages 158 and 159 of the book and even though it was meant for small children, I really like the monochrome graphic quality and modernist feel and would be happy to have it on display anywhere in my house. This version hasn’t been seen anywhere before so thought I would take some photos and share it on my blog.
I had bought the old printer’s trays years ago from an antiques market in Greenwich, just because I liked it and thought I would use it at some point. I painted it white, inset some vintage map graphics into the back of holes and painted some wooden pieces in different shapes, taken from an old children’s game, and stuck them in with sticky pads so they were raised away from the back. I painted it in the simple black and white colour scheme as babies react well to monochrome visuals.
The large printer’s tray that features in the book was bought at my local car boot sale and I photographed this too below. The idea for was to create teaching aids that you would be happy to have on the wall and keep for future generations. I also made one for colours which is shown in the book and there is also another version that looks like a little house in the introduction pages if you have a copy of the book to flick through.
I wanted this project to show how you can make an attractive, unusual and unique item that will inspire children’s learning and look great hanging on the wall or placed on a shelf. I hope it succeeds.
If you haven’t got a copy of the book you can see some examples of the type of projects I created here.
Time is ticking along and there are now three gift-making weeks until Christmas so it’s the perfect time to get creative. There is nothing quite like a homemade present, made and given with love. My latest book The Homemade Home for Children – 50 Thrifty and Chic Projects for Creative Parents was released earlier this year and it got me thinking as to which projects from it could be made as Christmas gifts. Here are a few of my favourite projects that would make great festive presents.
This bookcase dolls house is a favourite of my daughter and her friends when they come to play. It’s fairly simple to make but needs a bit of time and would make every little girl happy to receive it. There are full how-to diy instructions for all of these projects in the book.
Theses notebooks are quick and easy to make and would make a great stocking filler that encourage drawing and writing.
These little stitched mice are cute and the book shows how to make a matchbox mouse house to go with them too. My book includes a template to photocopy for the shape of the mouse and step-by-step instructions.
These twirling sticks are as much fun for boys as they are for girls (that’s my daughter in the photo) and they are super easy to make. The dolls below are a more special gift, something for a little girl to cherish and keep forever, passing on to her own children one day. I made several variations of doll in the book including a football version that is great for boys too (my son loves his!).
It was my children’s school Christmas fair this weekend and, as in previous years, I made lots of items to sell on the gift stall to help raise money for the school. Most of them are twists of projects from my books and I took some snaps before they were sold which I will share on the blog soon.
I hope these images inspire you to have a go making gifts for children, family and friends, or if you don’t have time to make, you could gift them a copy of one of my books so that they can make some of the ideas for themselves – there are 45 more projects like these in the book!
I snapped a few pictures of some wooden planes and boats that are sitting on shelves and chests of drawers in my son’s bedroom. They are little objects my father made about twenty years ago, simply put together from scraps of wood and old nails from his toolbox. I painted them in bright colours and personalised them with initials and words with meaning, like ‘Riba’ which means ‘Fish’ in Croatian and was the name of my grandfather’s little boat that we pootled along the coast in.
I left one of the boats as it was to show the natural texture of the wood and the simplicity of how it was made. My father and son still make driftwood toys together every summer in Croatia, see a previous post here.
When my son was born we hunted out this little airplane and hung it in his bedroom, suspended by a splash of a neon ribbon. It was this plane that inspired the ‘Balsa Wood Planes’ project in my new book – The Homemade home for Children – which has full step-by-step instructions if you want to try making your own. The image below is by Emma Lee and is an out-take from the photo shoots for the book. It is my little boy as he is now, enjoying being part of the fun.
These homemade toys are so simple and cost nothing but a little time, and I treasure them because of that.
They are things that cannot be bought, but made – with love and family.
The book launch for The Homemade Home for Children at Liberty was a very special day for me and thank you to all who joined me to make it that way. I know there were friends who would have loved to have been there but just couldn’t make it on the day, so I thought I would show you the details that helped to make my corner of Liberty so cosy, so you too can join in and feel as if you were there.
I had two dusky green coloured trestle tables pushed together to create a making area on one side of the atrium on the 3rd floor, by the entrance to the Little Liberty children’s wear department. I brought some of the actual projects from the book along with some items I had made especially for the launch. The Floral Wall Hanging project from the front cover of the book was hung above an original fireplace – the perfect place for it – and on the mantlepiece I added the Bowl of Goldfish Mobile project, one of the dolls I made for the Vintage-style Doll project, a variation of the Graphic Boxes project and also the Butterfly Table Lamp project. I made the flower pots especially for the event too.
Above the trestle tables I hung an adaptation of the Enchanted Branch project. I made a much larger version especially to hang over the tables using more leaves cut from Liberty print fabric.
In the centre of the tables was a pile of vintage books – props from the Liberty prop cupboard. Plant pots were balanced on top , a bird cage and vintage patterned china acted as vessels for the fabric and materials I had prepared for guests to make with.
I wanted my guests to be able to join in and make something from the book so that they would have a little gift to take home with them.
The Flower Hair Band project seemed an obvious choice as it could also be made into a brooch too. I spent the week before the launch preparing, cutting out the circles (100 in total) that the base of the flower is made from, leaf shapes, flowers for the centres and fabric strips, to save time for my guests. All were a little mismatched but Liberty fabric is perfect for this, it works brilliantly with different patterns jumbled together. So my guests just had to decide which patterns they liked. The results were really lovely and I hope people were happy with their little fabric flowers. You can see some the broochs here. If you would like to have a go at making one you can follow the Liberty video that we made.
Another simple project was the Wishing Board project. Guests could make a wish by drawing on a card tag and hanging it on the wishing board. I cut up thin strips of Liberty fabric and had a pile of labels and Muji fibre tip pens with little bits of washi tape wrapped around them. One such tape was a much-loved Merci for Liberty tape. Once the wish had been drawn the tie was threaded through and the drawn wish could be taken home or added to the wish board.
I loved that everyone got creative with these and started stitching on them and really making them personal. The full illustrated instructions for each of the projects can be found in the book which is available through CICO Books and at Amazon.
The idea behind the wishing board is that it isn’t material things children should wish for, not Playstations or Barbie dolls, but things that can make you happy; a bunch of flowers, a holiday, a pony, even a rocket to the moon. As one of the gorgeous girls who modelled in the book, and came along with her mum, said on her tag “I wish I had a Hamster”. So sweet. I think I had the same wish when I was eight.
What a fantastic day my book launch at Liberty was. In fact I would go so far as to say it was one of the highlights of my career so far! I had been preparing for the launch for the fortnight before, cutting fabric, getting materials together and planning it all in the evenings and weekends. It was an early start as everything had to be set up before Liberty opened its doors but thankfully I had the help of my lovely friend Caroline who was invaluable. And we also got to raid the Liberty prop cupboard to help style the table!
I wanted it to be informal so we had a big craft table that sat about a dozen people and it was filled all afternoon with people making, chatting and laughing and some children joined us after school, including my own, which was lovely, everyone making and drawing together. It was so much fun.
Everyone could have a go at making the flower hairband and hair clip project, and I also brought brooch pins so they could be worn on your clothing, showing how easily it could adapted for grown ups as well as children. Everybody seemed to love them and even guests who considered themselves non-sewers had a go and loved what they made. We also had the wish board project there, and guests could make a wish by drawing it on a tag and hanging it on the board with a Liberty fabric tie. There were lots of sweet and fun tags on the board by the end of the day.
On the Tuesday before the launch Liberty asked me along to be filmed making the flower hair band project for their blog too which was fun, though I am much happier behind the camera styling than in front of it, so if you couldn’t make it to the launch and want to have a go at making one it’s all in the video, I hope you like it. Liberty also interviewed me and you can read it on the Liberty blog here.
We have also uploaded all of the photos my husband took onto the Homemade Home Facebook page, so do have a look and please comment if you see yourself! Don’t forget to hit the ‘Like’ button too if you would like to get the updates there. Or if you came along and took pictures I would love to see them and feel free to post them on the page. I have been very busy since the launch but will be posting again with images of the displays and things we made.
Some special thank yous go to all of the Liberty team who were fantastic and helped it go so smoothly. Sonia, Cindy and the CICO Books team for all their support. Caroline, Polly and my husband Mark for all their help and to my mum and dad who brought my children along after school. And a big thank you to all of you who couldn’t make it along or were far away and sent sweet messages.
The biggest thank you goes to everyone who came along on the day. I really, really appreciated it and without you it wouldn’t have been the success it was. I do hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
Well I’ve been super busy preparing for the book launch at Liberty tomorrow as well as working on client projects, having meetings and juggling the school run! My studio is covered in gorgeous Liberty fabrics which I have been cutting and making into things to display or preparing ready for you to make with.
It’s going to be a kind of ‘make and meet’ to celebrate the launch of the The Homemade Home for Children and I will be there between 2pm and 5pm on the 3rd floor near the entrance to Little Liberty. You will be able to join in the fun and make a Liberty print hair clip or brooch to take away with you or make your wishes come true by adding a wish tag to the wish board. And rather than doing a talk I am keeping it informal and will be there to show you how it’s done and help you have a go, and we can happily chat away while we make. So if you have any queries about projects from the new book or from my previous book or any other questions do ask.
I will also be taking along some of the items to display like the floral banner that is on the cover, the play sail and other projects which you can photograph if you wish. Copies of the book will be available to buy from Liberty and if you would like me to sign your copy just ask.
The invitation and details are on this link and if you haven’t visited Liberty before a map is here, it is a wonderful emporium so do browse the rest of the shop when you are here, it’s fab and you won’t be disappointed.
I do hope you can come along and say hi, or if you can’t make it but know someone who can please tell them about it. The more the merrier.
If you would like another peak into my new book, pick up the new May issue of Country Living magazine which contains a six page feature called ‘Get Creative’ with projects from The Homemade Home for Children. If you haven’t seen the magazine it is a complete lifestyle magazine and includes homes, gardens, food, crafts, health and travel. A big thank you to the Country Living team for the feature.
Things are hectic here as I have been busy preparing for my book launch at Liberty this Thursday and my house is covered with swatches of Liberty print fabric and other goodies in anticipation! More details of the launch are here.
I have some wonderful news about my book launch… it is to be hosted in my favourite shop – Liberty!
I feel very privileged to be having my book launch at Liberty and it is a dream come true. I have been a fan of Liberty since I was at school and I used Liberty print fabrics in projects in both my first book and my new book so the match is perfect. Last year I helped my friend Holly Becker with the Decorate book launch in Liberty which was such a fun event (see here and here), but I never thought at the time I would have one there too. One year later and a full circle has turned, I will have my book launch there with friends to help me celebrate too.
And I would love you all to come along!
It is on Thursday 26th April from 2pm until 5pm and we will have a couple of craft tables with simple projects from the book for you to make. I will also have some of the finished projects from the book on display and will be signing copies of the book which will be available to buy from Liberty. Of course it also gives you the perfect excuse to wander around Liberty’s gorgeous store!
If you would like to come along please RSVP by email to Liberty (see the invite above) so that we can gauge numbers as places will be limited on the craft tables.
I do hope you can make it and looking forward to celebrating and meeting you there. I can’t wait!
PS To keep up with the latest news on the launch please ‘like’ my Homemade Home Facebook page and you can also follow things on Twitter.
Hooray! My new book The Homemade Home for Children is officially out in the shops today (though if you pre-ordered it a while ago you may have received it already). It’s six months since I finished working on it and I’m very excited and looking forward to the response. Fingers crossed!
I have had some fantastic coverage in the UK press to tie in with the book being published:
The UK’s best interiors mag (OK, I may be a little biased!) Elle Decoration ran a four page storey featuring an edited version of five of the projects. If you have a copy you will spot me on the contributor’s page. A big thank you to Michelle Ogundehin and all of the Elle Deco team.
Last weekend the Mail on Sunday, the UK’s biggest selling newspaper, ran a five page story titled ‘Swatch with mother’. A big thank you to Clare Nolan and all at the Mail on Sunday.
And Junior, the UK’s top parenting magazine, ran a four page feature. That is my son in the photo, he sweetly thought it was so cool too be in a magazine. If you have a copy take a look on page 9 and you will see a photo of me as a toddler! A big thank you to all at Junior.
And so my new little book is out there, on its own in the big, wide world. I would love to hear what you think of the book, if it inspires you and what your favourite project is or what your children’s favourites are!
It is the beginning of yet another busy week (I am shooting a magazine story this week) and I haven’t had much time to spend on my blog. I had a quick look through my archives and found these images that I took not long after I had finished my new book. The photos are not extracts, but part of a collection of objects I had near by, some of which did become props in the photos. My new book is on general release soon and if all goes to plan, a book launch will take place in late April. I have an exciting meeting later this week to discuss it and I will reveal more as soon as I can.
The very first copy of my new book arrived recently and it’s been great to finally see how everything has come together and I’m really happy with it. It’s exciting (and a bit nerve-wracking!) and I hope you all like it. It will be officially available from April 5th although it looks like Amazon may have already sent out some copies to those who pre-ordered early! In a similar style to my first book (which I recently found out is now a best seller for CICO Books!) The Homemade Home for Children contains 50 thrifty and chic projects for creative parents to make with and for children. It is not a book of projects for children to make on their own, but it contains ideas that can involve the whole family – children, parents, grandparents, friends or relatives – with illustrated step-by-step projects and quick ideas for all skill levels.
My little boy was very excited to see it as he appears inside the book along with his sister. Many of the projects were made with them in mind, using their drawings, for them to play with, dress up in and for their bedrooms. If you would like to get an idea of some of the projects in the book then you can see it in two fabulous magazines this month. I have contributed to the April issue of “the world’s best selling homes magazine” Elle Decoration, which has a four page feature, and also to the new issue of Junior – “the world’s finest parenting magazine”.
I will be sharing more about the book and launch event, so do visit regularly for updates if you wish. You can also follow on my Facebook page Facebook.com/homemadehome and on Twitter.
Following my home being featured in the Liberty Chic book last year, I was asked by another Japanese publisher if it could be featured in an interior design book. I love Japanese books; their design, smaller size and they are always filled with creativity and style. I said yes straight away and am so pleased I did. A few days ago a package arrived out of the blue, containing a copy of the new book as a sweet surprise.
It is a guide to decorating called Wall Color Interior by Yuki Kubota and Chieko Tomita, part of an ‘Interiors of Europe’ series. It is packed with photos and features 21 homes from Berlin, Copenhagen and London. There are lessons, advice and how-to’s plus a case study of each home, although it is in Japanese only. The home on the front cover above belongs to Kristine Lavigne of Danish design collective Meyer-Lavigne in Copenhagen. Below are a few of the spreads of my home in London with images taken by photographer Teruyuki Yoshimura.
The first peek inside my new book The Homemade Home for Children is available on the newsagent’s shelves! The new March issue of Elle Decoration magazine in the UK features one of my projects as an ‘inspired idea’ in their decorating section, showing the ideas in my book aren’t just for kids and can be interpreted however you like.
I’m afraid that’s all I can share for now but if you want to be one of the first to receive my new book you can pre-order now at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
This is a little place to share my work and the things that I love: interior styling and flea market finds; homemade and handmade; celebrating the old and embracing the new; creativity, family and fun.
These are the things I believe make your house a home.
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This blog is only my personal opinion. I try to be as accurate as I can but if you do try any projects, tips or ideas from this blog at home I can't be held responsible for the outcome I'm afraid!