Homemade ornaments like this fabric-wrapped coat hanger heart are simple to make and add little touches of personality to a space. I made this whilst on holiday to hang from a nail on an otherwise plain wall in the children’s bedroom in our Croatian holiday home. This is a variation of the technique used in Goldfish Bowl Mobile project from my latest book The Homemade Home for Children and the fabric-wrapped coat hanger project from my first book The Homemade Home, both books have full instructions if you would like to try it at home.
To make: Firmly bend the wire of the coat hanger into a heart shape with your hands. Select thin strips of fabric or pieces of ribbon and secure one end with double-sided tape. Twist the ribbon around the wire, when you have run out start again with another piece using double-sided tape to secure again. Continue until the wire is completely covered.
I bought the straw hat in the photo from a market stall in the local village, I couldn’t resist changing the ribbon to a grey and white spotty one! The heart-shaped leaf was actually picked straight from a climbing vine growing up a tree by our terrace, such a perfect shape.
A simple, little decoration that helps bring personality and fun to my children’s bedroom.
This natural, fresh lemonade was the drink of our holiday in Croatia this summer and is easy to make. I made a bottle every morning with help from my children who loved squeezing lemons and measuring and mixing, and it was enjoyed by us all. Lemonade is an ever-popular summer drink but I give mine a little twist, the addition of fresh mint, which gives it an extra refreshing taste. I always keep interesting bottles and jars when we’re there, to use as storage jars or as vases, making little displays of fresh herbs and sprigs picked from our garden. This bottle is a well known shape in Croatia and contained Amarena cherry syrup from Maraska, a famous old drinks company from the city of Zadar opposite our island.
To make 1l: Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a glass, add 2 – 3 tablespoons of sugar, a sprig of fresh mint and a dash of cold water. Mx it together, mashing the mint slightly with a spoon to release the flavour. Add some more water and mix to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a 1 litre glass bottle and top up with cold water then place in the fridge to cool.
Serve over ice, straining the mint if necessary, and enjoy.
August 29, 2012 in inspiring places
Swimming daily in the beautiful, clear, Adriatic is one of the favourite parts of my holidays in Croatia. This summer we went on a friend’s little boat for a day trip, stopping in idyllic little bays for swims and snorkelling, the children jumping off the boat and laughing. Throughout the day I found myself simply pointing the camera straight at the ever-changing sea, capturing the amazing colours and textures that appeared as the depth of the water and current changed – from midnight blue to aquamarine, navy to cyan to turquoise.
These were all taken around the beautiful islands of Kornati, a Croatian national park that is a popular tourist destination with day trippers and sailors alike. If you ever visit Croatia then I highly recommend island hopping and taking boat trips to fully enjoy the beauty of the coastline.
August 26, 2012 in inspiring places
Whilst wandering about and exploring with my camera, I ventured down to the harbour walls and jetties in our village, the neighbouring village and the old port of the medieval walled city of Zadar on the mainland opposite. They are areas just off the beaten track, industrial in feeling, and close to but tucked away from all of the beautiful traditional buildings and pretty boats that are the obvious tourist lures.
In these hidden places fishermen make shade to untangle their nets or unload their crates, leaving them on the side overnight. Shapes and colours everywhere that made me think of abstract artworks or the pattern of fabric. Walking around a corner one day I discovered a ram skull and tuna heads and tails tied to posts, mismatched old chairs and painted benches grouped together, and industrial doors with warning signs and beer labels stuck to the wall – a little spot where the fishermen must unwind after a night’s work. All of this was unexpected and felt like I had discovered a secret.
Brightly coloured brush marks on old doors and walls, made over years by boat painters wiping out the remains of paint from their brushes, and sprayed graffiti with a flower growing next to it, as interesting and beautiful to me as the traditional tourist sights. A sprayed cross on the wall, a red circle painted primitively as a warning sign, graphic and expressive. Painted hoardings and temporary structures creating geometric patterns like modern art.
By one harbour wall, at the end of the path, an ancient fire truck had been hand sprayed fluorescent orange with aerosol cans. In the glaring sun it had faded over time, revealing the lines of spray and turning the truck into a three dimensional canvas.
To me these little vignettes are like accidental artworks made by workers, unknowingly decorating their environments in an ever-changing manner.
If you look hard enough you can see art and beauty almost anywhere.
August 24, 2012 in inspiring places
In a neighbouring village called Kali, renowned for its excellent fishermen, the colours of their nets, piled high on the side of the harbour jetty wall near their boats, caught my eye and I had to capture them.
I love the muted palette and different colours and tones found in these weathered, well-used nets as they overlay and combine with the textures and patterns of the crumpled mesh.
August 23, 2012 in inspiring places
Having had a wonderful couple of weeks away with my family, enjoying each others’ company and switching off, I’m back to share some of my Summer inspiration with you. I took lots of photos and thought I would post some over the next week or so, split into a series I have called colours of my summer. The village where my grandfather built our family’s holiday home over 40 years ago is a charming, small and low key fishing village and now holiday spot, where swimming, lunch, siesta, reading and visiting the ice cream parlour in the evening are how the hours are spent.
There are plenty of modernised houses in the village, but it is the ones which wear their character on the outside that I was interested in documenting, capturing some of their charm and history. There are small pedestrian passages running between the old buildings, with skinny cats scurrying through and well-tended vines and olive trees in front of neglected or derelict houses. The cottages in the village are mainly built with stone, left natural or rendered and painted, with wooden shutters, terracotta tiled roofs and dry stone boundary walls.
Pale-leaved olive trees are everywhere, as are figs which we eat straight from the trees in our garden. Flowers and grasses spring up along paths giving little touches of colour amongst the walkways. Exotic insects, butterflies and bees buzzing around the oasis of nectar. Swallows swoop low and the heat is so intense that by 11 am all you want to do is swim or hide in the shade.
In this first post I have shown some of the buildings and flora to help set the scene and there will be more posts to follow.
I hope you have had a lovely summer too.
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
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