styling for the letteroom

November 17, 2013  in interior styling

Styling by Sania Pell for The Letteroom, photo by Uli Schade

I was approached in early Summer by The Letteroom to put ideas together for a new look and photographic direction for their first ‘grown-up’ catalogue, a taster of their product range for this Christmas season. The Letteroom sells personalised gifts and products of a typographical nature – homewares, accessories, decorations, prints – all with letters on that you can choose and personalise with bespoke messages. As a fan of all things typographic, photographer Uli Schade and I went with a clean and graphic feel for the images in a monochromatic palette. Some of the images we shot are below.

Styling by Sania Pell, photo by Uli Schade for The Letteroom

Stylist Sania Pell for The Letteroom, photos by Uli Schade

Interior Styling by Sania Pell, photo by Uli Schade for The Letteroom

Stylist Sania Pell for The Letteroom, photos by Uli Schade

Interior stylist Sania Pell, photographer Uli Schade for The Letteroom

We were very kindly lent furniture by Simon Jones Studio and Julian Chichester for the shoot. Other pieces were flea market bought and painted to complement the sets we designed.

Typographical, personalised gifts at The Letteroom. Styling by Sania Pell, Photo by Uli Schade

Flick through below to see the images Uli and I created in a sample of The Letteroom’s new catalogue:

 

 

If you can’t see it, click here to view on issuu.com

 

Head over to The Letteroom’s website to order the full catalogue and browse their product range which includes the products in the images shown. There are lots of ideas for great Christmas gifts!

Happy shopping.

 

Comments: 2 Leave a comment

Share this

the breakfast club

November 4, 2013  in food, interior styling

Sania Pell - The Breakfast Club

This little shoot was put together by myself and my friend Chrissie Holden. We first met at our children’s school summer fair two and half years ago. I had just finished lunch with my family and was chatting to my husband on a picnic table as the children had run off to play with their friends. A tall, bubbly mum wearing fab sunglasses asked if she could join us on the table with her family. We started chatting about the school and realised that her son and my daughter would both be starting reception together. She pointed to a banner hanging above the tea stall, appliquéd with fabric strawberries and tea cups and saucers on a natural linen and commented how much she loved it and had photographed it. I smiled and said “I made it!” and so our friendship began.

The Breakfast Club by Sania Pell and Chrissie Holden

Chrissie assists me on commercial photo shoots when I need an extra pair of hands and having done this for a while , a natural progession was for us to create a little shoot together just for fun and to post on my blog. I took the pictures, made some of the plate props out of Das modeling clay and we styled it together. We visited a local prop house for extra vessels, plates and boards to add to our own personal selection and spent a few hours one day styling and photographing at Chrissie’s lovely home in between school runs.

Chrissie is a foodie, so it seemed natural to work with this talent of hers and create a food-related story. She also wrote the words below (which did make me blush a little!) especially for this post to give a little insight into the thoughts behind the images. And if you want to say hi then you can find Chrissie over on Instagram.

The Breakfast Club by Sania Pell and Chrissie Holden

Muesli ingredients - Photos by Sania Pell

The Breakfast Club by Sania Pell and Chrissie Holden

“Contemporary cookbooks have become photographic tomes in their own right. A paragon of styling, lighting, art direction and photography, some of them really are works of art. The wonders of nature and the alchemy of ingredients lovingly prepared then presented with care and attention to detail make for a very beautiful and engaging narrative.

Food styling and photography has since come on in leaps and bounds in the past two decades. There is the seminal work of Donna Hay, whose clean and crisp styling has been hugely influential. The moody and emotive work of Katie Quinn Davies on her ‘What Katie Ate’ blog and cookbook; and the phenomenal catalogue of work by Ditte Isager, whose earthy tones and calming greys make for incredible still lives, as seen in the NOMA cook book and Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘It’s all good’.”

Eat simple - photography by Sania Pell

Sea Salt and Pink Peppercorns, photo by Sania Pell

Pink Peppercorns, photo by Sania Pell

“Lately I’ve been enjoying a very pure food aesthetic. It’s borne out of wanting to eat cleanly and a desire to live a less cluttered life. It also conforms to Sania and my mutual love of all things Scandi-nese. So, when Sania suggested we work on a food shoot together I was delighted. It is incredible to observe her eye in action and the way her brain works never ceases to amaze me. As regular readers of her blog, you will be no strangers to her creativity, flair and general styling wowness, but to see it in action is something special.

We decided to work with breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, after all. We kept things simple, offering the ingredients to you in their purest forms. We kept the colour palette neutral, layering tactile linens and ceramics. This is what we came up with.”

Chrissie

The Breakfast Club by Sania Pell and Chrissie Holden

Photos by Sania Pell

The Breakfast Club by Sania Pell and Chrissie Holden

Now… what’s for breakfast tomorrow?

 

Comments: 5 Leave a comment

Share this

halloween how-to: pumpkin party mask

October 16, 2013  in diy craft projects

Halloween pumpkin mask project by Sania Pell - Photo by Julia Bostock

With Halloween only two weeks away, the Marie-Chantal team asked me to write this little project for their blog on how to make one of the props I created for their autumn/winter photo shoot. The photos are by Julia Bostock.

This friendly pumpkin mask is the perfect Halloween accessory that can be used again year after year. It is easy to make and can be used as a costume mask, a shadow puppet or simply as a decoration for a Halloween party. They are especially good for children who don’t enjoy having their face painted.

Materials required:

A4 size card about 1mm thick (around 400gsm) – it needs to be stiff, but if the card is too thick it can be difficult to cut through.

Cutting mat or board

Scalpel or craft knife

Pencil

Dowling rod

Gaffer/Elephant tape

Emulsion paint

Flat paintbrush

Download the template PDF

Step 1: Print out the template at A4 size and trace the shape of the pumpkin onto the back of the card in pencil.

Step 2: Using a sharp scalpel or craft knife, cut out the shape of the pumpkin, the eyes, nose and mouth.

Step 3: Paint both sides of the card and leave to dry. I painted them dark grey as shadow puppets for the shoot, but you could paint them the traditional orange or whatever colour you like. It may require 2-3 coats each side. Leave them plain or let your children decorate them further if they wish.

Step 4: Attach dowling rod to the back of the pumpkin with gaffer tape or wide masking tape as a handle. Ensure the rod is long enough to hold comfortably with the mask in front of your or your child’s face. If you want it double-sided, cut out and paint a second pumpkin and glue or double-sided tape it to the other one, sandwiching the rod between them.

Step 5: Have fun at your Halloween party!

Halloween pumpkin mask project by Sania Pell - Photo by Julia Bostock

You can read the original post and more about Marie-Chantal over on the Marie-Chantal blog.

My children are already getting excited about dressing up and going trick or treating. It’s time to stock up on sweets I think.

Have fun!

Photos: Julia Bostock

 

Comments: 1 Leave a comment

Share this

styling for marie-chantal

October 11, 2013  in interior styling

Marie-Chantal kids A/W 13 Photo: Julia Bostock Prop styling: Sania Pell

Earlier on in the year I had the pleasure of working on a location shoot for the Autumn/Winter 2013 collection from Marie-Chantal, the children’s fashion brand that was founded in 2001 by Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece.

Marie-Chantal kids A/W 13 Photo: Julia Bostock Prop styling: Sania Pell

The creative team was headed up by the talented photographer Julia Bostock. As well as Julia and myself, the crew also consisted of a hair and make up artist, a fashion stylist, a set builder and a film crew who documented the shoot and worked with Julia on the promotional film that runs alongside the campaign.

Marie-Chantal kids A/W 13 Photo: Julia Bostock Prop styling: Sania Pell

My role in the team was to style the interiors and sets, source the props needed and, prior to the shoot, make bespoke props that fitted the theme and could be used within the images.

Marie-Chantal kids A/W 13 Photo: Julia Bostock Prop styling: Sania Pell

Marie-Chantal kids A/W 13 Photo: Julia Bostock Prop styling: Sania Pell

Julia and I designed the stage set prop and it was made for us and placed outside in the wilderness and then brought inside to the grandeur of the stately location house. The clothing was chosen to match this idea, with casual wear outside and smart occasion wear inside.

Marie-Chantal kids A/W 13 Photo: Julia Bostock Prop styling: Sania Pell

Marie-Chantal kids A/W 13 Photo: Julia Bostock Prop styling: Sania Pell

Inside there are two different scenes: a dramatic night sky backdrop that I made and a much simpler white back drop to show the series of hand-held shadow puppets I also made. These consisted of the Marie-Chantal crown, castles, stars, a dragon and a Halloween pumpkin.

Marie-Chantal kids A/W 13 Photo: Julia Bostock Prop styling: Sania Pell

Marie-Chantal kids A/W 13 Photo: Julia Bostock Prop styling: Sania Pell

Marie-Chantal kids A/W 13 Photo: Julia Bostock Prop styling: Sania Pell

The film, art directed by Julia, is really sweet. I hope you enjoy it, it tells the story behind the shoot with a lovely narrative.

Marie-Chantal kids A/W 13 Photo: Julia Bostock Prop styling: Sania Pell

The clothes are just beautiful and the different settings perfect to show them off. I hope you enjoy the images as much as I enjoyed working on them. These are some of my favourites.

You can see lots more photos from the shoot and the Autumn/Winter collection look book and on the Marie-Chantal website.

I’ll be posting a how-to from this shoot too so do pop back soon. x

Photos: Julia Bostock

 

Comments: 4 Leave a comment

Share this

the taste of holiday

September 29, 2013  in food

Homegrown figs in Croatia by Sania Pell

They grow in abundance in our garden in Croatia. There are several trees hanging with so many fruit that we eat them straight from the trees everyday, as soon as they become ripe. My children have fun looking for the oozing honey drop that says “I’m ripe, eat me quickly!” We always make the most of them while we’re there as they don’t travel home well, and they taste completely different to the supermarket ones here in London. So fresh, sweet and juicy.

Homegrown figs in Croatia by Sania Pell

A branch of them brought inside added a lush splash of colour in a corner of our holiday house. Placed on an old stool purchased in an antique market in Zadar and an old bucket used through the generations, it made a happy little scene.

Homegrown figs in Croatia by Sania Pell

I bought the homemade fig cake from a stall at the fruit and vegetable market in Zadar, where each little stall sells things they have grown themselves or made, like olive oil and local honey. I have brought it home with me to remind me of the delicious fruit. I’m saving it for the right occasion and think it would taste perfect with cheese and crackers after dinner, as an alternative to quince jelly.

I will have to make some fig jam while we’re there next year so we can bring home the taste of holiday once again.

 

Comments: 1 Leave a comment

Share this

folk flowers

September 23, 2013  in handmade goodness, vintage finds

Sania Pell - vintage Croatian embroidery

Having worked as a textile designer, one of my great loves is embroidery, either by hand or on the machine. It was when my mother was renovating her little house by the sea on the Dalmatian coast that we discovered these beautiful embroideries. We were looking for interesting decorative elements to add character to the holiday house and at the local antique bazaar in Zadar we found two of these hand-stitched embroideries and a bright rug amongst a pile of folded old fabrics.

vintage Croatian embroidery, by Sania Pell

They have so much Slavic character and charm in a simple, understated way. I am not sure what they were used for, (we use them as hangings between doors) but we bought one each. I rarely see them for sale in the markets or in piles of vintage fabrics and embroideries, so I count myself very lucky to have one. My mother’s hanging has embroidered writing on both sides and mine is plain at the top. The script translates as “Look, my darling, at these red roses, they’ll be yours when you come to fetch me.”

by Sania Pell

vintage Croatia, by Sania Pell

vintage Croatia, by Sania Pell

vintage Croatian embroidery, by Sania Pel

The colours are bright and bold, the traditional Croatian deep red and white combined with interesting combinations like peach and turquoise. The burgundy colour acts as a neutral to the other brighter colours.

by Sania Pell

vintage Croatian embroidery, by Sania Pell

The other side translates as “Long live the joyful Anica Speht” (a lady’s name). Perhaps it was made as a gift for a loved one or she is simply congratulating herself on her accomplishment at finishing the embroidery.

I photographed them alongside the simple furniture I had available, flowers from the garden and fruit bought from the village market to give a cacophony of pattern and colour.

 

Comments: 7 Leave a comment

Share this

faded grandeur in croatia

September 13, 2013  in inspiring places

Faded grandeur in Zadar, Croatia by Sania Pell

We visit our little holiday house by the sea that my grandfather built every year. It is part of my childhood memory and now is part of my children’s too. The old walled city of Zadar on mainland Croatia has many beautiful buildings in different states of repair and is laced with Roman and Venetian history.

Faded grandeur in Zadar, Croatia by Sania Pell

Faded grandeur in Zadar, Croatia by Sania Pell

Faded grandeur in Zadar, Croatia by Sania Pell

Faded grandeur in Zadar, Croatia by Sania Pell

On the one rainy day of our holiday we visited the city and popped in to see an art exhibition, where the entrance fees contribute to the on-going restoration. They are in the process of returning it to its former glory but I just loved the faded colours, the grand stairways and the layers of paint and textures of different building materials that had been revealed – and by chance my daughter’s clothes were of a similar tone. Elsewhere there are beautiful un-restored stone balconies and carved stonework amid the modernity, that bring joy to everyday life.

Faded grandeur in Zadar, Croatia by Sania Pell

Zadar, Croatia by Sania Pell

Ancient Catholic churches and towers remain, and one of my favourite things – the flagstone-paved streets, polished smooth over time by thousands of local feet.

Ancient paving in Zadar, Croatia by Sania Pell

We will have to revisit next year and see how much progress they have made.

 

Comments: 6 Leave a comment

Share this

sneak peek

August 9, 2013  in interior styling

Styling by Sania Pell

Here’s a little teaser of one of the art direction and styling projects I’ve been working on over the last few months, a new look for a new client. Very exciting! I will share more soon…

 

Comments: 5 Leave a comment

Share this

monochrome sea

August 8, 2013  in food, inspiring places

Sania Pell

Going through my photographic archives I discovered these images that I took last year on holiday. One of the most wonderful things about our Summer time in Croatia is the fresh simple delicious food. This fish came direct from the local fishing boats to the village market the morning they were photographed. They were barbecued for our lunch accompanied with salads and fresh bread. What especially caught my eye was the beautiful silvery tone of their skin.

Fish in Croatia close up by Sania Pell

Shells in Croatia close up by Sania Pell

These shells with a pearlescent interior are known locally as Peter’s ears and can be found in the bay we swim in if you snorkel for long enough. I dived for them like treasure as a child, much like my children do now too, their silvery inside catching the light under the water.

Mussels in Croatia by Sania Pell

Mussels can be bought in the village market if you are lucky and early enough and I just loved their deep, inky colour; another delicious lunch.

Mussel shells in Croatia - photo by Sania Pell

We are travelling to our little house on the bay this week to dive for treasures and swim in the deep blue sea.

I have been using Instagram over the last few months and will try to post a few photos while I’m away and when we have access to wifi in cafés. If you would like to see what I’m up to you can follow me at instagram.com/saniapell.

I’ll be back soon with lots of exciting news of what I’ve been up to over the last few months. It’s all been hush, hush but I will be able to tell all soon. x

 

Comments: 0 Leave a comment

Share this

experiments with ombré

August 1, 2013  in homemade

Indigo ombré dyed linen by Sania Pell

A few weeks ago, with a spare sunny weekend at home, I had fun dip-dying fabric to create an ombré throw. It had been on my to-do list for a while and I had some plain white linen ready, a sachet of hand wash Dylon dye and a packet of salt to fix it. I used Black to give a deeper intensity of colour and in the fade has a blueish tint to it. To begin I hand washed the fabric. Then I mixed the dye as per the instructions on the packet and dipped about half the fabric into the bucket of diluted dye, swishing it around carefully, so it did not splash the white linen above.

Indigo ombré dyed linen by Sania Pell

After about half an hour I rinsed the dyed section. There were a few splatters on the white section of the fabric, so straight after hanging the fabric onto the washing line outside, I used a wide paint brush to paint more dye on gradually and this gave the gradient, ombré effect I wanted. After a while I rinsed the fabric again and left it to dry naturally. The shadows from the foliage in the garden added a fleeting pattern whilst the fabric was drying.

Ombré dyed linen by Sania Pell

I also painted stripes directly onto other pieces of fabric for an alternative look. Wet the fabric first and the dye spreads when you paint it on and repeat several times to get a more intense colour.

Indigo ombré dyed linen by Sania Pell

Indigo ombré dyed linen by Sania Pell

To make the most of the mixed dye, afterwards I dyed a pair of my favourite black jeans that had faded over time from washing and are now refreshed! You can see the colours available on the Dylon website.

Indigo ombré dyed linen by Sania Pell

My finished length of ombré fabric is now folded over an arm of the sofa, giving the corner of the living room another visual layer and a reminder of an afternoon creating in the sun.

 

Comments: 3 Leave a comment

Share this

the colour of food: homemade fabric dyes

July 29, 2013  in food, homemade

Sania Pell Homemade Natural Dyes

The photos of vegetables in Singapore in my last post reminded me of these photos that I took last year and have been meaning to post. It must be my printed textile background coming back to me, because one day I had the urge to experiment with natural colour and play with food and fabric. I popped to the supermarket and worked on the theory that if it stains clothes (mine occasionally but mainly my children’s!) then it may have a longer-lasting dye quality. So I bought beetroot, red onions, blackberries, red cabbage and pomegranate and I had lots of other possibilities in the cupboards at home to test out too.

Homemade natural fruit dye by Sania Pell

Homemade natural Beetroot dye by Sania Pell

Homemade natural Beetroot dye by Sania Pell

I did some research and found it wasn’t really as simple or as easy as I had hoped to fix the natural colours permanently, chemical dyes are much easier for this, but I continued anyway. My method was to boil water, add the foodstuff, mix it around to colour the water in a concentrated enough way, sieve it and then add swatches of plain white linen to my homemade ‘dye’. I wet the fabric in clean water before adding the swatch to the dye and left them in soak for varying lengths of time until I liked the colour or it seemed to no longer be darkening. To fix them I added a mixture, in an experimental sense, of vinegar for vegetables and/or salt for berries. I then washed them in cold water first and then hot. The results are below:

Homemade natural fabric dyes by Sania Pell

1- Blackberry, 2- Blackberry and red onion peel, 3- Blackberry and red cabbage, 4- Blackberry and red cabbage, 5- Beetroot (pickled), 6- Beetroot and tea, 7- Spinach, 8- Red onion peel, 9- Pomegranate, 10- Red cabbage, 11- Red cabbage and a pinch of turmeric, 12- Red cabbage and turmeric, 13- Red cabbage, turmeric and vinegar, 14- Red cabbage, tiny amount of turmeric and vinegar, 15- Red cabbage with vinegar, 16- Tea, 17- Coffee, 18- Paprika, 19- Red wine, 20- Red wine and tea, 21- Turmeric, 22- Turmeric with wine, 23- Turmeric with wine and tea, 24- Turmeric small amount

Homemade natural fabric dyes by Sania Pell

Homemade tumeric fabric dye by Sania Pell

Homemade natural dyes by Sania Pell

Homemade natural colour dyes by Sania Pell

I don’t think there would be much possibility in colouring large enough quantities of fabric in a colourfast way to make cushions or throws, but I love the colours I made with this experiment and mixed a few together to give new combinations.

Homemade natural dyes by Sania Pell

Homemade red onion dye by Sania Pell

Homemade pomegranate dye by Sania Pell

Homemade pomegranate dye by Sania Pell

Homemade fruit and vegetable fabric dyes by Sania Pell

It was fun experimenting with food and fabric, especially knowing that it was all completely natural, and I was pleased with the gentle colour results I achieved.

And luckily I didn’t get any on my clothes! :)

 

Comments: 12 Leave a comment

Share this

colours of singapore: little india

July 8, 2013  in inspiring places

Sania Pell - Colours of Singapore: Little India

Little India, Singapore by Sania Pell

Detail of Little India, Singapore by Sania Pell

This is the final installment of my family’s travels to Australia and Singapore. I took these images in Little India, the area where we stayed. Of out two days in Singapore we spent half a day wandering around temples, markets and soaking up the atmosphere. It was a little taster of India for the family and a reminder to me of a country I visited a long time ago.

Flower garlands in Little India, Singapore by Sania Pell

Flower garlands in Little India, Singapore by Sania Pell

Details of Little India, Singapore by Sania Pell

Details of Little India, Singapore by Sania Pell

As in India, the colours were so vibrant and interesting, the buildings charming in their detail and the temples enthralling in their story-telling through paintings and sculptures on walls and ceilings. Small shrines on street corners and, as in every area of Singapore, people enjoying street food. The street market was my favourite area with vegetables piled high and flowers strung in garlands.

Little India, Singapore by Sania Pell

Vegetables on a market stall in Little India, Singapore by Sania Pell

Vegetables on a market stall in Little India, Singapore by Sania Pell

Vegetables on a market stall in Little India, Singapore by Sania Pell

After an adventure like this I still feel refueled and recharged. The joy of visiting friends on the other side of the world and experiencing a taste of Australia and Singapore will stay with us all for years to come.

 

Comments: 6 Leave a comment

Share this