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vive la différence – charles & ray eames

I’m always surprised how quickly a month goes by. We’re nearly in August, schools have broken off for the summer and the big 50 is looming large. Meanwhile, we have another Vive la Différence post. Great news!

I’m excited to feature Katy Orme who writes the blog Apartment Apothecary. An interior design and crafts blog, Katy suggests design and craft ideas and gives out helpful tips for getting your living space just the way you want it. She lives in Bermondsey, London.

For new readers:

The concept: each month I will invite one blogger. They will create and showcase one image/vignette. There are 20 themes and 20 objects for my guest to choose from. They choose 1 theme and up to 3 objects. I will then create an image/vignette based on their choice. Everyone has free reign on how to create the image. It can be simple photography, a drawing, a collage, a hand-painted image, a styled table top… the choice is yours! The fun part is that you, my readers, will see 2 versions inspired by the same subject matter. There is no right or wrong. There’s just ‘different’.

Katy chose the theme: Charles & Ray Eames…. with the objects: Art Supplies.  Here is Katy’s Vignette.

I was so excited and honoured when Tina asked me to be part of her Vive La Différence series as I love a creative challenge. I very quickly latched onto the Eames theme as I am interiors obsessed and I decided to step out of my comfort zone, inspired by Tina’s artistic flair, and use art supplies to represent the theme as each piece of furniture is a work of art in itself.

I started by thinking about what has made Eames furniture stand out as iconic art pieces that have grown in popularity since the 1940′s. I looked at my own Eames desk chair from different angles and it struck me that the shape and form of the chairs are recognisable by anybody, from any angle, even just a silhouette; you can’t say that about many pieces of furniture.

So, I decided to focus on the silhouette and I drew (I can’t draw to save my life!) a really basic outline of three different Eames chairs, that I love, from different angles. I then transferred the sketch onto lino to make a stamp, which was my first attempt at lino cutting. I always try to make useful things so I stamped a set of postcards. I just hope you can recognise each of the silhouettes!

Katy Orme - Charles & Ray Eames - VLD
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I’ve had a fascination with Charles & Ray Eames what seems forever. I remember when I bought my Hang it All many moons ago. It was the very first design piece and I still love it.

My Vignette has been inspired by the excellent Documentary EAMES: The Architect and the Painter I first saw when it was released back in 2011. I was mesmerised. Until then I knew that the Eames were a creative duo, that they build Eames House and that their chairs were iconic. The documentary shows us the Eames world in it’s entirety, from their iconic Eames Office, the incredible portfolio of work, to their marriage and all facets of their personalities.. I’ve re-watched it numerous times since.

The skeleton of my piece is based around the side view of Eames House (with some artistic licence). In it I tried to celebrate the many different disciplines this design duo undertook. I’m sharing with you some of my favourite pieces and quotations. I also wanted to highlight that I’m not in favour of buying fakes. I know it’s a controversial subject, but I feel quite strongly about it.

The soft padded chair (bottom left) is my absolute favourite office chair in the world. As I wouldn’t buy a fake, I’m still saving the pennies. I once saw a yellow leather one in someone’s home office and have never forgotten it. I’m still hunting for that one.

The pencil drawing of the Eames Lounger is representing the required ‘Art Materials’.

Tina Bernstein - Charles & Ray Eames - VLD

Images clockwise from top:

Charles and Ray Eames with ampersand and exclamation point, (1962). © Eames Office, LLC 2011.
Drawing of Eames Lounge, Google images.
Eames Soft Pad chair in white: Herman Miller.
For authentic Eames products go to Herman Miller and Vitra. If you love everything Eames, then take a look at the Eames official site and the Eames shop.

It remains for me to thank Katy for taking part and trying her hand at Lino cutting. I love your stamps and can’t wait for my very own postcard to arrive in the post!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m always so amazed at the creativity of my guest’s Vignettes. It might look easy, but it’s not (ask them). My consolation is that everyone without fail tells me how much they’ve enjoyed the challenge. And all of you challenge me in return. I’d say that’s a result! So thanks to all of you that have participated.

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deliciously ella – supper club

As someone very health conscious I’ve been a fan of Deliciously Ella for a while now. It’s always nice to see people, passionate about helping others to make better eating choices. You don’t have to agree with all of them but sure enough you will learn new stuff on the way.

Ella focuses on whole, plant-based foods and she makes it all look very yummy. She graduated from St Andrews with a Masters in Art History in May 2013 and has  a best-selling app, is launching her cookbook early next year and teaches cooking classes. Her blog and IG feed are super popular.

A couple of months ago, Ella announced on IG she was doing some supper clubs with her own food at special locations. I was curious so booked myself a place. Last night saw the first of these events.

Meet Ella.

deliciously ella - colourliving

The evening took place at Paradise – by way of Kensal Green, a rather nice restaurant and drinking bar. For those, not necessarily interested in healthy food, here are shots of the interior which I hope will inspire.

deliciously ella - colourliving
The tables were beautifully set with each one getting a goodie bag.

deliciously ella - colourliving
I loved the rustic look of the place. It felt very inviting and the staff very super nice and helpful.

deliciously ella - colourliving
Got to love that horse!

deliciously ella - colourliving
There were numerous lamp shades that took my fancy.

deliciously ella - colourliving
You were able to order all sorts of drinks and cocktails. For me, this cucumber, mint and raspberry water was just what I needed to keep my hydrated.

Tucked away in one corner was a beautiful free standing screen. I just loved the treatment on it.

deliciously ella - colourliving

deliciously ella - colourliving

The decor in the main restaurant was really beautiful. Lots of amazing lights and I really liked the idea of all these corks in the cage.

deliciously ella - colourliving

deliciously ella - colourliving

There’s also a great outside space, especially wonderful in this weather.

deliciously ella - colourliving

What I really enjoyed was to see a room of about 70 people, some came in pairs or groups, others on their own. I sat at a table of 6 and my fellow female diners were a real eclectic bunch of different personalities and walks of life. It made for a most interesting and entertaining evening.

The Menu:

Rice paper wraps with mango dipping sauce
Cucumber & avocado rolls
Beetroot hummus & carrot sticks
All served family style, for tables to share

Coconut Thai curry with brown rice
Marinated kale salad with sweet potato wedges
Carrot, ginger & coconut soup with sautéed mushrooms

Mango & cashew nut mousse with toasted pecans
Sweet potato brownies with coconut icing

The food, as expected, was delicious but difficult to photograph in only candle lit light and with a bunch of women who could hardly wait to tuck in.

deliciously ella - colourliving
Cucumber & avocado rolls

deliciously ella - colourliving
Beetroot hummus & carrot sticks

deliciously ella - colourliving
Mango & cashew nut mousse with toasted pecans

deliciously ella - colourliving
Sweet potato brownies with coconut icing

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Ella is as beautiful as she is nice. Completely genuine, talented and very sweet, I wish her the best of luck in her journey which has already taken her to incredible heights. Thank you for a great evening, for delicious food and for stimulating conversations with the lovely bunch of ladies at my table. Oh, fret not, I spotted quite a few gentlemen too.

Have a good weekend everyone x

7 Comments

magnum celebrates 25 years in selfridges

Phew. Is it hot enough for everyone in the UK? Have you survived that incredible thunderstorm on Thursday night? Wow!!! Do you feel a story coming on? Yes, of course you do.

Apologies, I did not have my camera on me that day, but am sure (by the end of this) you will agree it’s better to blog about this having taken iPhone 5 pics than nothing at all!

Well, in between meetings, whilst in the West End, I decided to pass Selfridges and see what’s new in their superb window displays. Got to love their window displays. As I approached I was faced with this huge Magnum ice cream sculpture. Intrigued I wanted to know more….

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Why is Selfridges displaying Magnum ice cream? I turned the corner to look at further displays…. ah, it all became clear in a flash!

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

So, if Magnum is celebrating 25 years at Selfridges, there must be something fun going on. Let me investigate. It was hot, humid, I had some time and I’m always up for a bit of fun and a great idea. Low and behold, they transformed the much loved Wonder Room into an exciting Magnum ice cream parlour (a la Selfridges).

Let the theatre begin. I have to tell you that more likely than not there will be a queue, so be prepared. This is theatre, after all, so every part of it is important. While you queue you can admire the little Magnum sculptures in the vitrines.

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Next, you are greeted by a member of the Magnum team, dressed impeccably in a brown and beige uniform. You get told what happens when it’s your turn and the excitement builds. More displays while you move along the queue.

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving
Cocoa beans.

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving
Gold Feuillantine

And then the big moment arrives! You are next. Here goes: you choose between vanilla and chocolate/caramel naked ice cream. Then you’re asked to choose 3 or 4 toppings. I chose Almond Flakes, Hazelnuts, Honeycomb and Silver Feuillantine.

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Then the dipping starts. Choices are white, milk and dark chocolate. I chose dark chocolate. Marcel, an expert kept me in suspense. What next?

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

The box and the toppings are applied.

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Now, the best part. Once again, you can select from white, milk and dark chocolate which Marcel expertly drizzled on top of it all and to finish off, here is the Magnum Signature.

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Voilà. That’s it. There are specially designed wooden tables supplied to eat your piece of art!

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving 

Roll the drums…… the moment you all have been waiting for. My very own Magnum ice cream. Too good to eat, right?

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

There were so many different concoctions that I decided to photograph my neighbours’ one for you before she devoured it. For white chocolate lovers!

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Not one with a sweet tooth, this was certainly a sugar fest. But, hey, what a wonderful marketing campaign. Pure theatre, pure joy for young and old and all this for a mere £4.50. So, if you fancy your very own version, go and pay a visit to Selfridges because this is a true ice cream eating experience. Make sure to use the hashtag #magnumxselfridges for all your Social Media.

Happy 25th Birthday Magnum and thank you for the fun!

Magnum at Selfridges
The Concept Store
Oxford Street, London

30 June – 30 August

13 Comments

igloo flowers

Wow. A week of sunshine in London. What better way than grab food, sit in parks, buy flowers and be merry.

Summer is here and flowers are in abundance. One little shop I’m a big fan of is Igloo Flowers on Bermondsey Street.  A little gem of a street with lots of fantastic eateries and shops and the wonderful Fashion and Textile Museum.

What I really like about Igloo Flowers is that they are a florist and delicatessen all in one. Many of you know I’m not a fan of many florists as I prefer wild flowers. But Igloo do it differently. Pre-wrapped, well priced and completely unpretentious, people pick up a bunch while they’re getting coffee or sitting in for a little snack.

Really love their facade. It’s very inviting.

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Inside it’s dark and moody, but look at this wonderful painting on the back wall!

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Loving the copper pots hanging off the ceiling and those lights, yum! Oh, and the food is delicious too.

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

But foremost I wanted to leave you with flowers. There’s something really wonderful about getting a bunch of fresh flowers. the colours and smell will brighten up any home and soul.

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Have a fantastic weekend and I hope the sun is shining for you wherever you are……. see you Monday x

14 Comments

villa béatrice ephrussi de rothschild 2

My regular readers would remember my post from earlier this year when I visited Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild in the pouring rain. As promised I returned in full sunshine and, unsurprisingly, loved every second of roaming around the grounds and gardens.

Being so hot and sunny I decided to spent the time I had outside, taking in the beauty and sheer opulence of this amazing Villa and its surrounding gardens.

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

There are ornamental sculptures galore, but these here caught my eye.

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving
The green mosaic pavement is stunning, especially with the sun hitting on it.

There are 9 sections to the gardens. Sevres, spanish, french, florentine, stone, japanese, provencal, exotic and rose garden. Each has its own charm. It was beautiful to see how people used the gardens. Some would simply walk around, others would sit on steps and have something to eat. There were people having photo shoots. The Villa is often used for weddings so a lot of engagement and wedding photography goes on there.

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving
Love the walkways and stairs leading to different sections of the gardens.

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

Now, just imagine for a moment you are walking in your garden and when you look to the right, you see this view!!! Incredible, no?

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

A beautiful alcove with this fountain, tucked away amongst the gardens.

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

The exotic garden was one of my favourites. I LOVED these rose succulents.

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

It was nice taking off my Birkenstocks and standing in the water to take this photograph.

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

Look at these beautiful fish?

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

What fascinates me most is the out of this world vista and greenery surrounding the Villa and gardens.

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

Once again, I decided to leave the photography of the inside of the Villa for another day. It’s impossible to do it all in one go. Here’s just a taster of what you’ll find inside.

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving

In the summer there’s a wonderful tearoom inside and outside and you’ll also find a book – and gift shop.

Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild 2 - colourliving
The mandatory last photo.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the difference between the Villa and gardens in January in the rain and in its full glory in July in full sunshine.

I’m still suffering from the shocking weather we’re experiencing here in London in July and my only consolation is to look at these photos and remind myself of what it felt like to have been there less than a week ago. I hope some of you are having better weather conditions. Have a great weekend.

This post will stay live until Thursday 17th July.

18 Comments

a quick escape to the sun

Hello July. Aren’t you meant to be summer? Aren’t you meant to give us lots of sunshine, BBQ’s and long lingering evenings outside? Well, I got fed up and so I decided to have a last minute quick escape to the sun.

My regular readers will know that for me, a 90 minutes flight to la Côte d’Azur just does that trick and •bang• I find myself in paradise.  There’s something about landing in Nice that washes away any stress I might have brought along with me and like magic, my entire body relaxes with immediate effect and transforms me into holiday mode.

As I sort my photos to bring you a couple of posts to particular spots, here is a little something to cheer up anyone stuck indoors or with less beautiful weather. London has graced us with beautiful sunshine today. Long may it last!

a quick escape to the sun - colourliving
I ask you, how can this view not lift spirits?

a quick escape to the sun - colourliving
Beautiful cacti against the blue sea. Yum!

a quick escape to the sun - colourliving
Everywhere you look you’ll find beauties like these. This here is in Villefranche.

a quick escape to the sun - colourliving
A spot of lunch by the habour is just what the doctor ordered! Preferably a grilled dorade royale (gilt-head bream) or loup de mer (sea bass).

a quick escape to the sun - colourliving
I just LOVE the colours of these houses in the South of France. Those shutters….

a quick escape to the sun - colourliving
Some street art in Villefranche.

a quick escape to the sun - colourliving
Not a fan of tourist places, but hey, you’ve got to admire the opulent building of the Casino Monte Carlo. Took a snap while driving past..

Some of you might remember that when I was in la Côte d’Azur earlier this year I visited the magnificent Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild in complete downpour. Well, I went back this time in the most glorious weather conditions so look out for my next post.

a quick escape to the sun - colourliving
Detail of wall painting in Villa Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild

So, I’m back, fully recharged and rearing to go. How are you all? Any summer plans?

22 Comments

alexander korzer robinson – rokoro

A few weeks ago, while visiting Greenwich Market, I came across some beautiful Book Sculptures. I stopped to take a closer look and talk to Robert Robinson of Rokoro.

Bristol based Alexander Korzer Robinson creates unique art of works by literally carving discarded encyclopaedias and exposing their inner beauty. He carefully cuts into the pages, deciding which illustrations to show and which to cut away. The result is these breathtaking narrative scenes. The amazing part for me is that they look like they’re a build up collage, strategically placed. Wrong! All illustrations are left in the original sequence and it’s up to Korzer-Robinson to decide what makes the cut! That’s where the art lies.

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Penrose Annual, 1950 Book Sculpture £400

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Detail of Penrose Annual, 1950 Book Sculpture

These book sculptures are one-offs and I love how, through the artists’ cut outs, the books takes on a new form of storytelling that I could get lost in for hours.

Korzer-Robinson in his own words: ‘Through my work in the tradition of collage I am pursuing a very personal obsession of creating narrative scenarios in small format. By using antiquarian books, it makes the work simultaneously an exploration and a deconstruction of nostalgia.’

IMG_5220
The Boy’s Own Annual, 1901 Book Sculpture

IMG_5251
Ganter Hochrelief – Der Große Herder Book Sculpture

As Korzer-Robinson’s book sculptures are one off’s and with the according price tag, you can buy less expensive limited edition hand cut layered 3-D prints of some of the originals put together by Robert Robinson. The layers are printed in pigment ink on archival cotton rag and are fade resistant for over 100 years. It all gets framed in a wooden box frame and comes with an acrylic pane and is ready to hang.

IMG_5274
Red Giant

A selection of these 3-D print artworks are now available to buy at Liberty’s. Apart from the 3-D print artworks, Rokoro also sells shadow boxes.

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Detail of The ‘Other Alice’ shadow box series 2

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Detail of The “Other Alice’ shadow box series 1

There is a real sense of nostalgia in these pieces and I would love to own one. If you’re in London and interested in Book Art, why not visit Beyond the Book: an exhibition of artists who use books as their medium. The exhibition is on until the 17th July and you’ll also find some of Alexander Korzer-Robinson’s book sculptures there.

 

14 Comments

vive la différence – gustav klimt

Today we have another Vive la Différence instalment. Vive la Différence is officially two years old and has featured 24 bloggers and their Vignettes. Amazing!

When I first started this series there was no game plan and I still enjoy it as it is. However, I wonder whether it can be moved on in any way. I’d love to hear your thoughts and views. Do you want for me to keep this format or would you maybe like to see 3 bloggers take 1 theme as their inspiration for a Vignette? Do leave a comment if you have an opinion on it!

I’m delighted to feature Rebecca, who lives in London and spends most of her time photographing people – you can see her wedding photography here. Rebecca also recently launched a new site called Living Abstracts, where she shares surface design and projects using it.

For new readers:

The concept: each month I will invite one blogger. They will create and showcase one image/vignette. There are 20 themes and 20 objects for my guest to choose from. They choose 1 theme and up to 3 objects. I will then create an image/vignette based on their choice. Everyone has free reign on how to create the image. It can be simple photography, a drawing, a collage, a hand-painted image, a styled table top… the choice is yours! The fun part is that you, my readers, will see 2 versions inspired by the same subject matter. There is no right or wrong. There’s just ‘different’.

Rebecca chose the theme: Gustav Klimt…. with the object: Art Materials.  Here is Rebecca’s Vignette.

What fun to participate in this – a very different project to my usual photographic commissions.

I started by looking at Klimt because I had bought some metallic paint and thought it would work in a similar way to the Klimt sheeny gold.  After a number of trials with watercolours, inks, pencil drawings and aquarelle pencils, none of the colours were gelling together or with the metallic paint. So I photographed four sheets of paper that were ‘works in progress’ and placed them on top of one another in Photoshop, along with some textured images, cutting out some layers, as well as changing the colour, saturation, blending modes and opacity on each layer until I ended up with an image where the colours worked together.

Some of the 25 or so layers were also made smaller, larger and reshaped.  I love the gentle greys and greens of this image, the feathery pencil marks and the overall curves. It is not at all what I was expecting when I started – and in fact looks remarkably similar to my maternity portraits.  There’s still a part of me that wants to add a metallic, though, perhaps by putting this in a dull bronze frame. 

Thank you Tina for having me.

Vive la Différence - Rebecca Portsmouth | Gustav Klimt
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Klimt, mon amour! I’ll never forget the day I was in Vienna for business (in my mid 20′s) and saw Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss hang in the museum. My love for gold, patterns, texture and passion was forever sealed .

Today’s painting is dedicated to ‘The Lady in Gold’, the story of how Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I was looted by the Nazis in 1938, during the second World War. Adele, who died in 1925, requested in her will that the works be donated to the Austrian state museum. Ferdinand, their legal owner, who lived another 20 years, instead bequeathed his estate, including the paintings, to the couple’s nieces and nephews. After the war, the Austrian government justified keeping the paintings based on the terms of Adele’s will.

Maria Altmann, Ferdinand’s niece, who escaped Europe with her husband after he was held by the Nazis in the Dachau concentration camp in 1938, thought for many years that her aunt and uncle had left their collection to Austria. In 1998, she discovered the truth of her uncle’s will, and set out to reclaim her family’s art. An eight-year legal battle with the Austrian government began and in 2006, the painting, amongst other ones was returned to its rightful owner.

In 2007 I saw the documentary called Stealing Klimt and this is when my obsession with Nazi-looted art began.

There are many different cases still not uncovered and I find it incredible that governments have been able to get away with stealing famous paintings for so long. I hope the rightful owners will never rest! For anyone interested, this is a great talk by Los Angeles attorney E. Randol Schoenberg, telling how him and Maria Altmann won their case against the Austrian government. Worth a listen!

I’ve also heard that a film (Woman in Gold) about the Nazi-looted Klimt restitution, starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, is currently in production.

Method: I used watercolours, gouache, oil pastels and gold dust. I painted many layers and scratched out the patterns to reveal the colours underneath. In Klimt’s paintings you often have one very bright section with the rest more muted, goldish look. I tried to emulate this by painting only one layer with the face, hair and necklace.

PS. In case you’re wondering about Adele’s hair. I had pink highlights put in over the weekend and this is a nod to them.

VLD - Gu Klimt | TB

I’d like to thank Rebecca for taking part this month. I love the sensitivity of the mark makings and now I want blue and green highlights too. Happy new week people!

13 Comments

urban jungle bloggers – how to dress your plants

It’s June, it’s sunny and it’s Urban Jungle Bloggers Thursday.

Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series, devised by Igor and Judith. The idea is to get some green into our homes, especially for us urban folks! Every month they invite bloggers to share ideas for creating an urban jungle through styling challenges, DIYs, green tips and tricks. Every month there is a different theme on the topic. You can follow and get more Urban Jungle Bloggers inspiration on Pinterest and on Facebook.

June’s theme is: ‘How to dress up your plants’!

What I enjoy a lot in the summer is to move my plants around as the mood takes me. Some live outside on the roof terrace, others inside but from time to time I’ll swap things round and pretend I’m re-decorating:-) For today’s purposes I’ve shot everything on the terrace as the sun was out and it’s more about showing how we dress our plants than where they live.

I have been collecting night light holders, glass storage and tins forever and so I enjoy planting my finds in the more unusual dress ware!

This is a BIG cup, the kind the french like to have their café au lait in. I never really used it for drinking. It’s perfect housing for my lovely Howarthia succulent.

urban jungle bloggers - how to dress your plants
Howarthia

Staying with succulents, these next 3 little beauties were recently gifted to me by a friend. Initially I wasn’t sure what to put them in. Then I remembered these 3 hand-painted little night lights that I bought about 15 years ago from a gorgeous vintage shop in Battersea, which sadly closed down not long after. I’ve cherished them ever since. Aren’t they charming?

urban jungle bloggers - how to dress your plants
Various baby succulents

I’m a great fan for using food tins. I like how they rust if left outside. Just put a couple of holes at the bottom.

urban jungle bloggers - how to dress your plants
Back: Sedun – yellow | Front: Pink Potentilla

I own many teapots. I have quite a number of these eclectic ones that I bought from Paul Smith. Why not use it to dress a plant?

urban jungle bloggers - how to dress your plants
Pink Potentilla

Talking of tea. Kismet does a great job with their packaging. I might not be the greatest fan of their tea (too gimmicky for me) but I certainly keep them for planting herbs or plants when given one of their teas as presents. Again, a couple of holes at the bottom will do the trick!

urban jungle bloggers - how to dress your plants
Dahlia

Glass is a favourite of mine. Of course there is no drainage but if watered little but consistently, it works. The Oxalis (a beauty, no?) is planted in a simple clip top glass storage jar. I simply removed the lid. The Lobelia lives in a smart black glass vase that I bought years ago at Abigail Ahern. I have 2 of them so use the other either as a vase for fresh flowers or as a teal light holder.

urban jungle bloggers - how to dress your plants
Left: Oxalis | Right: Lobelia

I am always on the hunt for great plant holders. Unfortunately I don’t get very excited by a lot that’s on the market. I love being creative with what I’ve got to hand. As summer progresses and I pick up more and more plants, I look forward to dress them accordingly. I can’t wait to see how the other fellow urbanjunglebloggers tackled this month’s theme.

How do you dress your plants?

UJB-sidebar-greenF

22 Comments

luiban

I’m very excited to introduce to you my new favourite Berlin stationery shop. I stumbled upon Luiban completely by chance, while in Berlin a couple of month ago, and I knew instantly that I had found stationery nirvana. You get me, right?

What I didn’t expect was how nice the owner was. Humble, softly spoken, knowledgeable, polite and very entrepreneurial.

Meet Michael.

Michael Reuben Bandt - Luiban - Colourliving

Tell us a little about your passion for paper and stationery. This passion started very early. When little I always used to drag my mum into my favourite stationery shop. At 16, I asked them for a job. After an apprenticeship I finally persuaded them that, despite my age, I’d be good fit!
Some things are just in our DNA. Although I own my own stationery shop, you’ll find notebooks and paper products everywhere in my home.

What happened after sweet 16? I studied social work and later social economics. Meanwhile, to nurture my passion, I still worked part-time in stationery shops. I gained experience in social participation and diversity and am excited that I’m finding ways to combine my social background with Luiban. We are currently manufacturing some of our own brand products in workshops for the disabled.

Luiban - Colourliving

Many people these days start an online shop and follow it with a bricks and mortar shop. Makes sense? We started our online shop 5 years ago and never thought of opening a physical shop. There wasn’t a particular dream of a big business. We simply enjoyed sourcing stationery products. It started very small with a shelf in my living room. Soon after we realised we needed a warehouse and subsequently resigned from our jobs. Now we have a shop in Berlin. Everything just took a natural cause and we don’t underestimate the support we’ve had from our customers.

Luiban - Colourliving
A phlethora of envelopes.

Luiban - Colourliving
More envelopes.

Luiban - Colourliving
I love these envelope sets.

When and with whom did you open your shop in Berlin. How different is it to running just an online shop? Luiban was founded with a very close friend and we opened our shop in Berlin one year ago.
Everything has changed. We now have much more direct contact with our customers and working is so much more fun. We are far more motivated and love the input we get from people wondering into the shop (a bit like when you visited).

Luiban - Colourliving
Japanese document envelope.

Luiban - Colourliving
Greeting cards galore!

How do you select the products you sell? I used to trawl the trade shows but found less and less interesting products. What I did notice was that I came back from travelling with far more new contacts, products and ideas in my head. These days I try and source great companies and products from my worldwide travels. Last year we employed someone from Japan. It’s been very enriching. Not only does he help in the communication with Japan, he’s an artist and sees things differently to me. A big bonus!

Luiban - Colourliving
Bakers Twine, now also in neon colours.

Luiban - Colourliving
Yes, we all love a bit of copper foiling.

Tell us about your customers. I’m interested what’s the ratio between females and males and what products do they like best? Our customer base is pretty balanced. However, we often do get told that our products are more masculine and a little simpler than you’ll find in other stationery shops. I’m sure that’s the result of us being male and choosing products.
We really have a wide customer base, from chauffeur driven people to those with hardly any money to spend. That’s hugely important to us. We want everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy our offerings, whether they buy or not!

Luiban - Colourliving
MT tapes, a must. But do check out the linen ones!

What’s your favourite bit of the business? I love sourcing new companies and products. It’s like an exciting hunt! I get goosebumps when I discover something new I like and can’t wait to unpack it. A bit like at Christmas, I guess. It’s also humbling to observe how people appreciate the simple things in life, the way they touch the products and delight in them.

Luiban - Colourliving
Beautiful leather coin purses.

What’s in the pipeline for Luiban? In November we open a contemporary shop in Bikini Berlin. We are always striving to find exceptional stationery products and hope to be further developing our own products. It’s important to us to deepen our relationship with the workshops for the disabled.
I’m delighted to have my own shop at 26 and look forward to this continuous journey.

Luiban - Colourliving
Delicate brass paper weight.

Luiban - Colourliving
A good pencil sharpener is mandatory!

Luiban - Colourliving
Envelope sealing wax.

Luiban - Colourliving
I’m a great fan of Kaweco’s writing instruments.

Luiban - Colourliving
Wrapping paper and Origami paper.

I want to thank Michael for taking time to share his story. While there, Michael excitedly showed me and gave me this pen knife as a present. I’ve kind of been brought up with scalpel knives. This one here below has a ceramic blade, rotating head and makes it easy to cut curved lines. Thank you. I love it!

Luiban - Colourliving
Pen knife with rotating blade.

I know that many of you are stationery fans. Do go and pay Luiban a visit when in Berlin or take a look at their online shop. I’m sure that I’m not alone in thinking that Michael’s passion has found a great purpose. I look forward to seeing more products in conjunction with the workshops for the disabled.

Luiban
Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 28
Berlin – Germany
Mo – Sa12 – 8pm

This post will stay live until Thursday 26th June.

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