Book Review- IN THE MOOD FOR COLOUR Perfect palettes for creative interiors by Hans Blomquist

We’ve been stuck in a neutral colour rut for so long, how can I resist the lure of this book title In the Mood for Colour by Hans Blomquist, all time favourite interior stylist, art director recounting his story of colour, a major interest for me. To find all this rolled into one generous tome means well established books at the top of my long list have been bumped off in favour of this newbie.

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The book opens with A World Full of Colour, a lush mosaic of mainly polychrome images from around the world, in its format its very familiar to Instagram users. It is then divided into chapters, Dark, Pale, Natural, Soft and Bold. Each chapter is layered with a visual feast of colour images illustrating ways to bring colour into interiors. Running through both text and images the simple message about using colour in interiors is they are all ‘designed by nature’. Grow your confidence with colour by looking at the many ways nature successfully combines them. This is a personal account of his relationship with colour and his response to the different colours is engaging and effervescent particularly when he discusses how his mood responds to different colours.

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The eclectic schemes showing ways of using colour are summed up with delightful names like Pistachio, Duck Egg and Faded Denim, hinting at a layered experience that engages all the senses. The double page spread, Rose, Powder, Petal, like a mood board, uses a variety of images, paint, fabrics and flowers, with the main image demonstrating how to layer them up confidently.

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With its wealth of eye candy images, still lifes and dreamy compositions, it’s an invaluable tool for anyone wanting to find ways to launch into the colour zone and on their way to creating confident colourful interiors. In the Mood for Colour is now my go to for inspiration. I’ve worked on many rewarding projects where colour has been pivotal. As lead colour expert on an innovative government research project colour was used to show how environment affects childrens learning, further projects have been using colour to develop rooms for teanage cancer care as well as psychotherapists consulting rooms.

IN THE MOOD FOR COLOUR Perfect palettes for creative interiors

Hans Blomquist

Published by Ryland Peters & Small £19.99

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My Tiny Indoor Garden by Lia Leendertz

If you have no garden and are thinking you are never going to have enough space to have your own or be able to grow your own salads look no further than My Tiny Indoor Garden. House plants are having a moment just now, we use them for styling so many projects, they are something we can all have and everyone wants to be in on the act. This delightful book by Lia Leendertz with beautiful images by Mark Diacono is packed with space saving indoor gardening ideas and even people living in the most restricted spaces can join in. It includes lots of ways to display flowers and plants as well as a wealth of tried and tested growing tips.

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Before I go any further R&B have to declare an interest in this title and tell you team member Amanda Russell was one of the case studies featured. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty more case studies and very doable projects we want to enthusiastically immerse ourselves in.

Image1 - Photo credit to Mark Diacono

There’s lots of detail on plant maintenance and how to keep them in prime condition from the people growing the plants. There is a pretty succulent garden in a porch with a useful demonstration on how to take cuttings to increase your plant collection. Cookery writer Deborah Robertson shows us the secret of reinvigorating mint plants to keep them producing flushes of beautifully scented leaves. And who couldn’t linger over a fabulous multicoloured hyacinth jar collection, attractive with or without blubs in them.

Image2 - Photo credit to Mark Diacono

Full of beautiful images and information this book would have our shelf space for a long time even if Amanda wasn’t in it. It’s a great gift to take out again and again as well as being a reliable and in depth reference book.

My Tiny Indoor Garden

By Lia Leendertz

Published by Pavilion Books

Images Mark Diacono

Dip Dyed Plates

With some plain white china, emulsion and masking tape you can create designer plates for next to nothing. Please note these are purely decorative and cannot be used for eating from or put in a dishwasher.

You will need some white China we used Ikea 365 costs £2 for a large plate and £1 for a small one, Crown paints match pot s£1.49 for 40ml we used the following colours: Blue Planet, Scrumptious,Orange Squash, Up beat, Shocking pink, Hot mustard.

Masking tape and a car sponge.

Stick the masking tape across the paint to make a line of where you want the colour to finish. Dip the sponge into the emulsion, and using an up and down motion, cover the area where you want to add colour. Build up in layers and leave to dry before removing the masking tape.

Tip If you get smudges when you remove the tape, use a scalpel blade to remove the excess paint.

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Hedgerow Baubles

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Plastic fillable baubles offer such a range of festive possibilities; we’ve chosen to fill ours with free foraged finds and sprayed them an on-trend copper shade

You will need :

  • Plastikote Fast Dry Copper Enamel, £3.99
  • Two-part baubles, £8.68 for 3 http://www.specialistcrafts.co.uk
  • Leaves and natural bits and pieces; we used ivy, holly leaves and a fennel head

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Instructions :

  1. Pick your natural natural materials from surrounding hedgerows or fields (never from private land). Make a spray booth from an old cardboard box.

 

  1. Take the box outside and spray your picked pieces with a coat of copper paint. Leave to dry, then turn any leaves or large seed heads over and do the other side.

 

  1. Fill the baubles with the copper-coloured decorations and tie ribbon through the hanging loop at the top of each bauble.

Marbled Cushions

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Recently we found an ancient, well 1990’s Dylon leaflet about marbling on fabric and so intrigued were we that we decided to create a marbled cushion.

Traditionally marbling was done on paper and was achieved by floating oil colour on water or size. If you try and do this on fabric, the fabric feels hard and unpleasant.

Did a few experiments on different kinds of cloth and the ones that give the best colour and luminosity are Silk and Satin. We have used a heavy slipper satin for these cushions. For best results use a white or light coloured fabric.

You will need

Shallow plastic trough. This needs to be bigger than the pieces of fabric that you are going to float in it. The fabric needs to be large enough to fit over the cushion pad

Bucket or large jug

Whisk

Fabric pieces. Satin or silk

Dylon fabric paints

Tool from one of the following: Knitting needle or a barbecue stick or toothpick

Roll of kitchen paper

Sewing machine

Scissors

Pins

Thread

Ruler

Fabric marker pen

Cushion pad we used a 29cm sq

Lots of newspaper to cover the work surfaces and access to a sink

Waterproof gloves

Spatula

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Instructions

 

  1. Put on your gloves to protect your hands.

Whisk the wallpaper paste into water according to the manufacturers instructions, until it is the consistency of yoghurt. Pour into a shallow trough until it is almost full. Leave to stand for at least 15 minutes.

 

Tip: Whilst you are waiting for the paste to set, use the time to cut your fabric so it fits in the troughwith enough border to lift it in and out. Cover the work surface in newspaper.

 

  1. Apply drops of colour onto the surface of the paste and then use your tool to swirl them around. This can look pretty messy at this stage.
  2. Carefully lower a piece of fabric onto the paste surface. Leave for a few seconds for the paint to absorb, you may need to push it down with your fingers.
  3. Carefully lift off the fabric. It will be covered in paste as well as a pattern below the paste. Leave on a work top for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Wash off the paste from the fabric under running water. Leave to dry.
  5. When dry, iron the fabric o the back, using a hot setting for 1-2 minutes to set the colour.

 

 

Tip : To clean the paste between applications use a spatula to remove the surplus colour.

 

To make the cushion cover with an envelope back

 

  1. Measure the cushion and cut one piece of marbled fabric to that dimension for the cushion front. 29cm x 29cm (image 4)
  2. Cut two further pieces the width of the cushion cover by approximately 2/3 the length. (29x 20cm) For the cushion back.
  3. Turn under by 0.5cm and 0.5cm again and pin and then neaten with a running stitch along one 29cm side of each back piece of fabric . (image 6)
  4. With right sides facing, and neatened edges overlapping in the centre, pin the 2 backs onto the cushion front and sew round the edge. (image7)
  5. Turn the right way out and fit the cushion pad into the cushion (image 8 showing back of cushion)

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Hygge – Fingerless Mittens

This is a very simple, inexpensive yet luxurious make and epitomizes the spirit of Hygge. We used a much loved but rather moth eaten cashmere sweater to create these mittens. We covered the holes with beautiful old nametapes, which were a thrift store find. They are perfect as they have bound edges so are easy to sew on. If you don’t have nametapes you can always use pieces of ribbon. Tapestry wool is perfect for sewing the mittens as it comes in many colours so you can either make a near perfect match or give an injection of colour. Tapestry wool is thick, so before sewing with it separate out a couple strands from a length of wool.

You will need

Old sweater or cardigan with sleeves

Contrast or matching wool

Name tapes or ribbon for mending

Darning needle

Sewing needle

Scissors

Sewing thread

Stitch unpicker

Dress makers pins

Instructions

  1. Cut the sleeves off the sweater and try them on. You will want them to be a bit crinkly when you wear them so that they trap air and keep you very warm. If they are too long cut some of the length off but leave enough to turn the edge under to neaten.
  2. Put each sleeve on and mark thumbs position with pins on the side seam.
  3. Using the stitch unpicker, remove the stitches in the side seam at the thumb position.
  4. Roll in the edges of the thumb holes and sew down to neaten.
  5. If the sweater fabric is felted you won’t need to neaten the cut edges, if it is fraying roll in the edges and neaten like the thumb holes.
  6. Use nametags to cover any moth holes, sew in place using a needle and sewing thread.

Enjoy wearing your newly made Hygge mittens!

Get your copy of The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking here!

Or here (https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/298804/the-little-book-of-hygge/

 

Wire Shelf from a Bread Crate

We had an old wire bread basket that was just calling out for a bit of a makeover, so we turned it on its side and fitted some shelves made from oddments of wood.

They were not just any old shelves, We painted them, in your face, neon pink before fitting them. So the whole unit has a real Wow factor to it.

You will need

Metal bread or milk crate

Soft wood off cuts

Steel ruler

Pencil

Jigsaw

Drill with small drill bit

Thin Wire

Wire cutters

Valspar Fluorescent paint in pink

Sandpaper

Instructions

  1. Measure the wood off cuts and mark so they are the same dimensions as the inside of the metal crate from front to back and side to side.
  2. Saw the wood to those dimensions.
  3. Make sure the shelves fit into the crate. With a pencil mark on the wood where the various uprights are at the back and the sides of the crate. Drill holes in the shelves in the positions you marked.
  4. Sand the shelves. In a well -ventilated room ,spray in turn the tops side and underneath of each shelf it turn obviously drying between the various sides before applying the next coat. .
  5. Cut the wire into 15cm pieces and thread through the shelves and then using the metal ties, tie each shelf into the frame.