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my library – snail mail by michelle mackintosh

So here’s a confession. I have a massive weakness for everything to do with stationery, so when I saw the newly published Snail Mail: rediscovering the Art and Craft of handmade correspondence, I just couldn’t resist and had to have it!

Michelle Mackintosh is a book designer, illustrator, self-confessed stationery nerd and has designed dozens of books on a wide range of topics.

We live in an era where everything is instant and we’re in real danger of losing the ability of really communicating with loved ones. In this digital age, receiving a handwritten letter, card, or personalised package is such a treat. This book will make you stop and think about this, whether it’s saying thank you in a letter or maybe even reflecting on your life through writing.

my library - snail mail by michelle mackintosh

I’ve had this book for a couple of months. It lives in my bedroom and every night before going to bed I feast me eyes on a few pages in the hope that my dreams will be filled with creative endeavours and craft filled scenarios. Hmm, not working that well!

As a graphic designer, I love a well designed book full of intricate details. The photos and styling are gorgeous. The hard cover and matt pages are luscious and the stickers included at the back of the book are such a nice touch!

my library - snail mail by michelle mackintosh

The book is divided into seven sections: Write here, right now // Crafting a letter // Creative characters //Brown paper packages tied up with string // Post with personality // Getting the most from your post // Templates

my library - snail mail by michelle mackintosh

my library - snail mail by michelle mackintosh

my library - snail mail by michelle mackintosh

There’s so much inspiration in this 220 pages tome that I dare you nor to find something tempting. You might even be inclined to make one of the projects included in the book. The instructions are very clear and there are plenty of photographs to guide you through the creative process.

my library - snail mail by michelle mackintosh

my library - snail mail by michelle mackintosh

There’s no doubt that Michelle Mackintosh was inspired by the Japanese stationery and letter writing culture that is very much in vogue at the moment. I can’t wait to try out some of the recommendations here.

my library - snail mail by michelle mackintosh

my library - snail mail by michelle mackintosh

Whether you’re crafty or not, if you like stationery, letter writing or purely admire this form of mail art for any occasion, this book is a must for your library. It’s a happy new addition to mine.

This post will stay live until Monday 3rd August.

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the art of tea drinking

My regular readers will know that I don’t drink coffee, but instead indulge in the art of tea drinking. You may rightly ask why I refer to it as an art?

For me tea drinking has always been something nurturing, ritualistic, special and healing. My knowledge and passion for it has grown over the years and I invest in tea ephemera as well as the best loose tea I can find and afford. I drink various teas according to the time of the day, the healing properties or simply for the taste of it. Today I introduce you to some of my favourite teas and places you can buy them from.


the art of tea drinking | colourliving
Dried Rose petals found at Neals Yard // Moroccan mint from Fortnum and Mason.

the art of tea drinking | colourliving
Postcard Teas
– Sobacha//Green Mulberry
For more on postcard teas, see my post here.


the art of tea drinking | colourliving
Verveine tea//Tilleul tea from La Maison des Plantes

the art of tea drinking | colourliving
Hibiscus Infusion from La Fromagerie // Skin tea from Content
For more on Content see my post here.

the art of tea drinking | colourliving
Camomile – from left: wild camomile grown on my roof terrace//dried normal version found at Neals Yard//dried white from La Maison des Plantes

the art of tea drinking | colourliving
Jing Tea set My daily routine. I usually will infuse more than once, hence the decanting into another glass vessel before drinking.

the art of tea drinking | colourliving

the art of tea drinking | colourliving

For travelling I like to use unbleached teabags and fill them with my favourite teas. Like this I always take away a bit of home with me and make sure I get to have nice teas on planes, in hotel rooms or wherever I might find myself.


the art of tea drinking | colourliving
Jasmine pearls from Jing tea//unbleached teabags from Baldwins

For a great little film on three tea emporiums (London, Berlin and New York), why not watch this Monocle Retail Special.
How do you take your tea?

This post will stay live until Monday 27th July.

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an art deco walking tour in the strand

I love London and have been living here for nearly 35 years. Yet I’m always surprised how little I know and how much more there is to learn about this great city. My regular readers will know that I thoroughly enjoy being a tourist in my own city.

I first found out about Yannick Pucci’s quirky London tours after connecting with him on Twitter. Back in November 2013 I booked onto his Art Deco walking tour in Bloomsbury which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a real eye opener to me that albeit spending most of my time in central London, I don’t always ‘see’ what’s around me. As a designer I know it’s all in the details and yet I miss so much of it when rushing around this city going about my business.

It will come as no surprise that I was excited when Yannick invited me to come on his new(ish) Art Deco walking tour in the Strand. This time, last Saturday, it was a glorious summer’s day. No umbrella or raining jacket in sight. Again, an area I’m most familiar with and yet I enjoyed learning about the buildings, architecture, art deco details and fascinating tidbits. Once again Yannick inspired me to take a better look.


an art deco walking tour in the strand | colourliving
A rare appearance of Ms Colourliving.

We were a small group of curious folks who enjoyed being expertly led around the Strand. I really enjoyed the mix of iconic buildings together with some more hidden gems I had never seen before, all the while admiring the art deco signatures. Yannick is very happy to answer any questions and is eager for people to participate if they wish.

an art deco walking tour in the strand | colourlivingInfinity

I thoroughly enjoyed this 2 hour tour and came away knowing a little bit more about this great city I live in.

I’m not going to give away what the Strand tour entails, but for anyone who follows me on Instagram it’s no secret one of our stops was the fabulous and recently refurbished Savoy Hotel. I leave you with some images of this iconic place!

an art deco walking tour in the strand | colourliving
The iconic Savoy Hotel front entrance.

an art deco walking tour in the strand | colourliving
Rather beautiful detail of how to display plaques.

an art deco walking tour in the strand | colourliving
The beautiful lobby as you walk in.

an art deco walking tour in the strand | colourliving
Another part of the lobby.

an art deco walking tour in the strand | colourliving
I just love all the paintings dotted around.

an art deco walking tour in the strand | colourliving
A rather charming gallery wall within the lobby area.

an art deco walking tour in the strand | colourliving
Beautiful wallpaper.

an art deco walking tour in the strand | colourliving
The famous tea rooms.

I can’t recommend highly enough to join one of Yannick’s quirky walking tours. Do peruse his website and take a look at the other tours he offers. Here’s one for you foodies.

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ladybird by design

On Saturday evening I had the pleasure to attend a late gallery opening at the House of Illustration and see their latest exhibition called Ladybird by Design.

ladybird by design - colourliving

I don’t know about you but I love late gallery openings. They seem so much more relaxed. With this one there were also drinks and activities. Wanting to savour the actual exhibition I decided to try the activities first.


ladybird by design - colourlivingTable full of templates, magazines, markers, scissors and glue for us to play with.

They aim was to take one of the supplied templates (text) which were taken from the Ladybird books and find some imagery for it. Here were some examples floating around.

ladybird by design - colourliving

ladybird by design - colourliving

ladybird by design - colourliving

ladybird by design - colourliving

And here was my attempt. As you can see I veered off a little from the original:-) but hey, creative license and all that…

ladybird by design - colourliving

That part was fun but now to the main attraction. There are over 120 illustrations from Ladybird books dating from the late 1950s to the early 70s, including images from classic Ladybird titles including People at Work, Shopping with Mother, Science, Nature, Well Loved Tales and Key Words. You’ll also find rare photographs, roughs and a spread of the actual book layout, showing the 24 illustrations with the text.

Photography isn’t allowed as there’s a wonderful book accompanying this exhibition but here are just a few images to wet your apetite.

ladybird by design - colourliving

ladybird by design - colourliving

ladybird by design - colourliving

ladybird by design - colourliving

ladybird by design - colourliving

I am always so impressed with the curation at the House of Illustration. Their exhibition are full of storytelling and have immense content. I always come out feeling I saw and learned a lot. One of my favourite feature is the accompanying videos as you exit the exhibition. They are so interesting that I find myself watching them a few times while absorbing what I’ve just seen. See the one on Ladybird by Design here.

The shop, filled to the brim with interesting illustration books, greeting cards and so much more has a variety of products accompanying this exhibition. A box of 100 postcards, the exhibition catalogue, a series of Ladybird prints depicting the alphabet and they also found some original vintage Ladybird books where the proceeds from the sale goes towards the cost of running their extensive education programme.

ladybird by design - colourliving

ladybird by design - colourliving

And here’s what I managed to pick up. The Ladybird book of London has been reproduced but the one on food and Gerry the Giraffe are originals. Hurry though, the vintage ones will sell out fast.

ladybird by design - colourliving

I cannot recommend the exhibition enough and at a price of £7.70 per adult it’s really worth a trip. Check out their website for details of Ladybird inspired talks and events, late gallery openings and family workshops. I cannot wait to return before it closes.

Ladybird by Design
10 July – 27 September
House of Illustration2 Granary Square
Kings Cross
London N1C 4BH
Open 10am – 6pm Tuesdays – Sundays

4 Comments

wild life drawing at spitalfields city farm

Wild Life Drawing is a drawing class with a difference. Instead of the usual human life models, the subject here are real , live animals. How great is that? Their aim is to inspire a sense of appreciation and understanding for the animals and conservation issues around the globe.

I’ve known Jenni Webber, a London based visual artist, educator and animal lover for a while now. Last year she mentioned she was going to start some life drawing classes with animals. Wild Life Drawing has just celebrated it’s 1st Birthday. I’m happy I finally got to join a class.

This one was held at the wonderful Spitalfields City Farm. The sun was shining, it was the perfect evening to engage with the natural world and encourage appreciation of wonderful animals.

Meet the herd, both in people and animals. This class was all about lambs and sheep. I had no idea how challenging it was to draw life animals moving around. It was nearly impossible. However, it did make me look and study them more and after a while I realised I could take a photo, work from that whilst still referencing to the live animal.

wild life drawing at spitalfields city farm
It was special being amongst the animals.


wild life drawing at spitalfields city farm
Are you looking at me??? This is Karen, a Castlemilk Moorit. This is a rare breed of domestic sheep originating in Dumfriesshire in Scotland.

wild life drawing at spitalfields city farm
My 1st attempt!


wild life drawing at spitalfields city farm
This is Teggan (female), a Badger Face Welsh Mountain sheep. This is a is a distinct variety of the Welsh Mountain breed of domestic sheep bred for Sheep farming in Wales.


wild life drawing at spitalfields city farmMy humble attempt!


wild life drawing at spitalfields city farm
Meet Jenny, the farm’s manager and Twiglet, the baby lamb who is Karen’s daughter (see above). Twiglet hardly survived and was bottle fed by Jenny. She’s now 3 months and thinks Jenny is her mum!


wild life drawing at spitalfields city farm
Is she gorgeous or what?

wild life drawing at spitalfields city farm
The beginnings….

It was all too short and before I knew it the session was over. I asked Jenny whether 2 hours wasn’t a little short but then we are dealing with life animals and I need to get to grips with my drawings a little faster:-) I think it’s the notion of being in a farm amongst animals that I wanted to spend more time with.

Next up is Goats & Kids back at Spitalfields City farm. I know that in August there is a life drawing class with owls. Jenny has done snakes, meerkats (jealous) and there are more exotic animals on the agenda. Be warned, the classes fill very quickly so your best bet is to sign up to the newsletter to be the first to hear of new dates.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am dead proud of Jenny’s new venture that already is a big hit. See you in class?

This post will stay live until Monday 13th July

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daily sketching part five

It’s been nearly 2 months since I last posted some of my sketches. Wow, where has the time gone. We are half way through the year. Can you believe it? It’s summer, that means it’s lighter for longer. I’m still trying to do some sketching every day but sometimes I default and then do more the next day. I figure that I can let myself odd the hook. It’s been 6 months since I started this journey and I’ve got quite a bit to show for it, wouldn’t you agree?

For new readers, here are some more of my older sketches.

My fascination with dense housing and cityscapes continues and I’m forever looking to improve.

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

I spent a day at a hospital with a dear friend who had keyhole surgery on his knee. What else to do but take my sketchbook and sketching utensils. This was more of a doodle. I really was there to take care of my friend and not obsess about some complex and intricate design. The nurses were most fascinated….

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

At the hospital I saw something about glass eyes that inspired this following sketch. A bit eerie now I’ve told you?

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

Back to some flowers. They always pop up somewhere and I so enjoy sketching them.

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

A cityscape in some more muted tones.

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

An imaginary forest. I did an embroidery of this many years ago so fancied having a go with markers instead of stitching.

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

There seems to be rainbows EVERYWHERE on social media. I somehow wanted to join in…

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

My imaginary gallery. I’m not good at figure drawing, but fancied a little challenge. Here I went over to the dark side!

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

And finally, another cityscape. A mad one, a really dense one and most colourful too. I must learn to get more straight lines:-)

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

daily sketching part five | colourliving

That’s it. We’re having a heatwave in London right now. I hope you all stay cool and for those in the southern hemisphere, hope you’re not too cold. See ya x

4 Comments

my library – personal spaces

Today I want to introduce you to a very special book in my library, entitled: Personal spaces.

I’ve always had a soft spot for books, bookbinding and therefore the London Art Book Fair. I’ve seen it go through many metamorphoses and different locations. Back in 2005 I stumbled across the most gorgeous limited edition book that had my name all over it!

Personal spaces. The book is based on a compilation of answers received from family and friends in response to a questionnaire about their homes!

my library - personal spaces

The original concept, Design & Production is by Philippa Wood. The book has been entirely hand set and therefore has a number of spelling errors. LOVE the hand stitching. It’s a limited edition of eight (hurray for me owning one) and is printed and published by The Beehive Press at the University of Lincoln.

Held in permanent collection: Artist’s Book archive, Winchester School of Art

I treasure it! Enjoy….

my library - personal spaces

my library - personal spaces

my library - personal spaces

my library - personal spaces

my library - personal spaces

my library - personal spaces

my library - personal spaces

my library - personal spaces

my library - personal spaces

my library - personal spaces

my library - personal spaces

As a designer and home finder this beauty of a book is of constant inspiration to me. Happy new week everyone x

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urbanjunglebloggers – make your plant pop!

Today features another Urban Jungle Bloggers edition, the last one before the summer break.

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 their Pinterest boards and Facebook page.

June’s theme is: ‘plant color pop’….. make your plant pop!

Back to basics. I’ve used Magda, the Hydrangea I bought in February 2014 (for my 1st Urban Jungle Bloggers post). She lasted for a long time.

 urbanjunglebloggers – make your plant pop!

Then in October 2014 she started growing new flowers again (see here below).

 urbanjunglebloggers – make your plant pop!

This is the here and now! June 2015. Showing off Magda with her latest growth popping against colour!

 urbanjunglebloggers – make your plant pop!
Photographed on the roof terrace against glossy red card!

 urbanjunglebloggers – make your plant pop!
Photographed on the roof terrace against glossy yellow card!

 urbanjunglebloggers – make your plant pop!
Photographed inside my flat against hot pink shutters.

This is a piece of art/collage I made a few years ago. I had it flat printed on a jet printer at an approx. size of 2M x 1.5M. I thought it would be fun to take the popping against colour a step further so hung it up on my roof terrace. This is only a section of it. Staying with the flowers/plant theme.

 urbanjunglebloggers – make your plant pop!

 urbanjunglebloggers – make your plant pop!
Spot Magda!

 urbanjunglebloggers – make your plant pop!
This gives you a better idea of size!

As always, it was great fun putting this post together. Colour popping is right up my street:-) I look forward to checking out some of the other entries in this lovely community. There’s a well deserved summer break for Igor and Judith and the Urban Jungle Bloggers crew is back in September, one of my favourite month.

UJB-sidebar-greenF

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grow london

I was really looking forward to the return of Grow London, the contemporary garden fair now in its second year. I missed it last year by a couple of days and was determined to make it this time.

Truth be told, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew is that it’s always nice to have green inspiration. Off I went on the first day.

Right from the start I had a good feeling. There was a lovely vibe in the air.

I loved this installation by Ben Walker, here below, (BA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins College of Arts) entitled: Melon, W

 

Grow London | colourlviing

Artist’s Statement: “Melon, W (2015) is the result of a visual study of ‘In Watermelon Sugar’, the novel by Richard Brautigan. The book is a presentation of a sanitised utopia, where residents craft their houses, bridges and lives out of watermelon. When accompanied by the fog rolling over the soil, the bathtub, with its exterior enamel shell, is a further reference to the vats used to make the ‘sweet watermelon sugar’ described by Brautigan. As a vessel for water, it feeds the flowers that sprout from its core.”

Grow London | colourlviing

There were too many exhibitors and stands to mention so I’ve picked a few here.

 

Grow London | colourlviing
Botany was exhibiting as part of the Gardenista Market.

Grow London | colourlviing
Fab plant pot hangers by Eleanor Bolton, also as part of the Gardenista Market.

Grow London | colourlviing
There were succulents galore!!!

I was definitely in love with these conifers by Lime Cross Nursery.

Grow London | colourlviing

Grow London | colourlviing

Grow London | colourlviing

And of course one of the main highlights was the incredible stand design by Petersham Nurseries. They actually erected a feature garden and were offering workshops. They recently started a School of Garden Inspiration events. Why not join the slow gardening discussion at Rosewood London. As part of the Rosewood London Slow Food & Slow Living market this is a monthly series of cutting edge, thought-provoking and transformative ‘Slow Life’ and Slow Food conversations and experiences.

Grow London | colourlviing
Feature garden

These gorgeous Zinnias were floating in a bowl. Talk about colour inspiration as well as flower inspiration.

Grow London | colourlviing

I bought some lovely herbs and plants from Edible Scape and enjoyed talking to Bradley from Boma Garden Centre, where I not so long ago bought my Spider Lily from.

There’s something about plants that makes people happy and it was most evident at this successful fair. Thank you for the inspiration Grow London. Can’t wait for next year!

4 Comments

gods own junk yard

Gods Own Junk Yard has been on my ‘must see’ list for ages so I was thrilled when it finally happened. It’s fairly accessible, in the depth of Walthamstow, in an Industrial Estate.

I’m not quite sure I knew exactly what to expect, but boy was I pleasantly surprised. You will be entering a world full of neon lights, neon signage, religious icons, kitsch and the most charming outside space with urban jungle and eclectic water stream/fountain. Best of all there’s also a café with comfy seating and affordable café grub and drinks. It’s the perfect place to while away an afternoon, get inspired, take millions of photographs and hang out with friends.

But I think I should shut up now and let you see for yourselves.

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
I think the cow says it all…

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
If you don’t like bright lights, don’t go!

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
You can sit down, have a drink and take it all in!

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
Loved the religious icons

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
LOVE!

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
Now who wouldn’t want this sign?

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
The outside space is like nothing you would have seen before.

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
What a GREAT and different kind of water stream/fountain.

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
Great Urban Jungle

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
I’ve seen many cable drums used as outdoor tables, but none of them in pink!

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
Inside a hut

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
Mwah!!!!

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
Great textures everywhere

Gods Own Junk Yard | Colourliving
Loved this stained windows.

I cannot wait to return. It’s fun, relaxing and completely mad! People have weddings and parties there and they do bespoke neon signs.Apparently that’s their core business. During the week the space is closed to the public and it’s being used for photo shoots and other commercial events. But if you’re stuck where to go on a Friday to Sunday, this is your place!

Gods Own Junk Yard
Unit 12
Ravenswood Industrial Estate
Shernhall Street
London
E17 9HQ
020 8509 0157

This post will stay live until Monday 22nd June.

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