Posts Categorised: DIY/Projects

AirBnB Collaborate with Pantone – To Create a Greenery Haven

As a blogger, I get invites to many different events and workshops and I feel very lucky. I don’t attend too many of them as it often takes a large chunk out of the day to attend, but when the opportunity to visit an Outside In House in London pops up. Yes please.

You may have heard about this amazing AirBnB and Pantone collaboration in Dingley Place, East London .. cool front door, hey ?  They have transformed this home in to a plant oasis and project venue based on Pantone’s Colour of The Year  – Greenery – for a family of four for overnight visits.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear on my tour around the home that one night’s experience in this entire place, so close to the centre of London is only £200 per family. Even better is that every nightly fee is matched by Pantone with all proceeds going to charity.

This setting of trees was just as you walk in the front door. Apparently it took them two days to convert the whole house, which is pretty impressive.

Maybe because we are a little closer to Spring than when Pantone first announced Greenery, I loved it even more. Such a refreshing and zingy colour and it really works on such a big scale.  The aroma of the herbs planted around the rooms was incredible.

I’m pretty sure my girls would squeal with delight at the thought of staying indoors in a teepee adorned with fairy lights. This was downstairs below ground level along with the master bed and bathroom. I loved the lawn flooring and continuation of sweet and healing scented plants surrounding the beds.

So serene and hidden away in such a busy and non stop city.

After a tour and a super healthy cup of herbal tea drink we sat down in the dining room / craft table with Walthamstow based, textile and surface designer Daniel Heath, and tried our luck at screen printing on wood surfaces.

Daniel showed us the process and then we looked around the conservatory for a plant that inspired us to have a go ourselves.

It was incredibly therapeutic to do and also great fun watching everyone’s stencilling turn in to a cool creation to take home.

Definitely a blogging afternoon to remember !

So, has Greenery grown on you yet if you didn’t love it at first ? Or maybe it was love at first sight ?

Leave me a comment under this post  – I’d love to hear from you.

Lucy x

 

Five Favourite Posts on Lucy Loves Ya for 2016

As we are really close to Christmas now, I am hanging my boots up until the New Year  – although I no doubt will be posting pictures over the festive period on my instagram. I can’t stay away.

I thought you might like to see some of my favourite posts for this year – the ones I have enjoyed making the most. Although actually, I have enjoyed curating all of them.

If you remember way back in Spring, I did up my living room a little and made new curtains, cushions with Designer’s Guild fabrics and put up some new artwork ? Well, this is it again above and you can see it in full here.

 

More and more, I’ve loved trying out recipes in 2016 and sharing a few with you. My Dad is a meeeaan curry chef and passed on his wisdom with a lovely monkfish curry for this post. Omg – it was tasty. Do try it out.

Then there were the moodboards.

I came up with three colour palettes that I really liked for the bedroom. Are you thinking now that I am a huge fan of green ? Well, I am, but check out my other boards – and you will actually see the bedroom reveal early next year ( It was delayed due to some things taking longer than expected ) and I can’t want to show you.

In the Summer, we brightened up the design room with some new paint and and accessories. It feels much more contemporary now and still love the freshness. Unbelievably, I’ve managed to keep those fabrics in the cupboard all pretty neat too .. somehow.

If you’d like a little tour around the room then you can find the post here.

Like I say, lots of things I have enjoyed doing this year – but this is the fifth one I have chosen.

I was asked by The Joy to Plants to photograph some Speciality Orchids as they are Houseplant of the Month for November. It has made me really fall in love with them. In fact I’ve become a bit of a nerd when it comes to looking after them here at home. Such amazing and interesting flowers. I’ve never really been very good at looking after plants but the last year has made me much more aware of their needs and, well, they just look so lovely around the home don’t they ?

So, that’s my little roundup. Have you enjoyed any posts in particular ? Which ones do you like the most .. my days out, recipes, home DIYs or fashion shots ?

Once again this year, I’ve been lucky to interview some really inspiring designers and authors. In January I have another really good one.

I’d like to also say a big thanks to all of you who have added your amazing and colourful photographs to #InspirationIsColour on instagram – we are heading toward 8000 and it’s such a treat to see and share them on my other account @InspirationIsColour.

Have a really Happy Christmas. Hope you get to relax and enjoy some time with your loved ones.

Thanks for reading.

Lucy x

#InspirationIsColour – Latest Instagram Images

Inspiration Is Colour Images

Left to right, top to bottom: 1. @ghostzine 2. @rebeccadesnos 3. @labelsforlunch 4. @lazydaisyjones 5. @runnerkinhall 6. @ellabonbella_x 7. @thesilverfactory 8. @imbeingerica 9. @lucylovesyablog

It’s always really exciting, sharing instagram images from #InspirationIsColour .. today is no exception – some cracking ones.

But this time around, I’ve actually started an account where I can share your colourful photos daily too. It’s called @InspirationIsColour ( obviously … ) and there are already some beautiful shots to check out.

Here are some of the great accounts who have used the hashtag. In fact, top left with the two doors was also shared by instagram gaining nearly a million likes and it’s is by talented photographer @ghostzine aka Alexis who takes great pics of Portugal and the UK. Well worth checking out.

It really makes my tummy flip to see so much colour inspiration from all around the world. I know I always say that, but it’s cool isn’t it ?

Inspiration Is Colour PhotosLeft to right, top to bottom: 1. @daydreaminglib 2. @hannahberrridgeceramics 3. @janestreet35 4. @alison_faith_kay_art 5. @jessrose1702 6. @styleophileuk 7. @marykilvert 8. @oldfashionedsus 9. @porthjess

They are all so different. I think that’s what I like about instagram so much. Seeing colour inspiration through everyone else’s eyes. Plus you discover new amazing parts of the world. I have a much bigger ‘ places I want to visit ‘ list now.

Look at that picture by @oldfashionsus of the orange flowers … a reminder that Autumn is on its way. Such a great season for inspiration. The rainbow stairs are in Berlin – I am visiting there soon .. so will be looking out for them.

Inspiration Is Colour Hashtag

Left to right, top to bottom: 1. @la_fee_de_fleur 2. @karenanita 3. @byvanessaleigh 4. @justjane17 5. @candypop.uk 6. @cassiefairy 7. @littlehouseonthecorner 8. @lottie_storey 9. @wineros 

If you’d like to follow @InspirationIsColour and see all of the features artists ( and add your own too if you’d like to ) please do –  and don’t forget my main account @lucylovesyablog where I add my own colourful  photos daily.

You can also check out all of the instagrammers by clicking on their names under the grids. All fab accounts – recommend !

When we reach 10,000 I will be doing a giveaway to celebrate … so, watch this space …

Have a good one.

Lucy x

#InspirationIsColour – Latest Gallery of Pictures

#InspirationIsColour 1

Left to right: @artistmeetsmother @jessrose1702 @fifi.and.florence @mcv96 @rachel_tattered_rose @oandystudio @thesilverfactory @hellopartyinsta @oldfashionedsus

This time choosing pictures to display here from the #InspirationIsColour gallery on Instagram was even harder.

I started a while ago thinking that it would be good to hook up with the colour lovers around the world, which has happened but I never thought there would be so many shades of different colours, each week. So many creative photographers out there, having fun with their Instagram accounts.

These posts will be made a bit more regular as I was looking through images since my last blog post and there were lots and lots, most definitely worthy of featuring here on my blog. In fact, I am honoured to.

#InspirationIsColour 2

Left to right @abookishbaker @pixieconceptstore @silverpebble2 @idontcrampmystyle @zoepower @potterandbloom @natasha_nuttall @lottie_storey @hannahberridgeceramics

As I always say to my daughters, art is a subjective thing – and that is why I love Instagram so much. We all have a different take on colour, art and style.

I especially love to see people showcasing their own handy work in photos – what  do you enjoy the most ? Of course, if you follow me – @lucylovesyablog on instagram you will know that I am pretty partial to sharing a colourful home and a brightly painted beach hut also.

#InspirationIsColour 3

Left to right: @rachelandhercoffee @anna.moraissoares @stylophileuk @_amanda_design @capetowngirl12 @miafleur_home @rebeccadesnos @jennamichellepink @mollyandtheprincess

All of the accounts featured are well worth checking out.  What’s interesting is that I know now who the photographer is of an #InspirationIsColour photo before I even click on it – which shows how unique we all are !

Do add your pictures on Instagram if you fancy it. It’s a great way of finding each other on there and I hope I can add one of your pics to a gallery here on Lucy Loves Ya soon.

Have a good one.

Lucy x

How to Make a Colourful Terrarium

Terranium

It has been a manic weekend. A good one none the less. More on that at the end of this post … :)

As it has been half term this week just gone, we spent a bit of time making things. Now the girls are that bit older – things like play doh and colouring in don’t really cut the mustard so much.

So, I thought it was about time, as they are always admiring the succulent collection in our home, that they made their own terrariums. We have some glass sweetie bowls left over from the wedding a few years ago so these are perfect   – just needed the contents for the inside.

I’ve written a little tutorial because it was really fun and thought it might be useful if anyone is thinking of making one for themselves. It’s really easy and at the end of it you have something colourful and easy to look after. Honestly, if I can keep these plants alive – anyone can !

Adding Stones

You will need:

A glass terrarium or something that resembles one. Even a large used jam jar will do the trick.

Some medium sized stones from the garden or wherever you can find them. Depends on the size of the glass container – if it’s small then smaller stones.

We have also used 1 bag of colourful ( of course ! ) aquarium gravel  – you can use this or plain if preferred.

1 bag of suitable terrarium soil – we used one with added charcoal to keep it fresh  – I found some online.

1 bag of terrarium moss.

Several plants ( that will depend on how many you need ) They will need to be suitable for your type of terrarium. Check on this before buying.

Fun bits to decorate the plants. Whatever you fancy !  ( Optional ).

Tongs if you have a slim glass terrarium – to add your decoration at the end.

Some succulent scissors to keep the plants looking fabulous for the future.

All of this should make you at least two terrariums, dependant on the sizes.

 

Adding Stones Terranium Stones

First – add the bigger stones to the base of the terrarium. Then add in the gravel and mix it up together. As these are coloured I wanted that to be a feature so we added quite a lot but less is fine if preferred.

The ratio can either be same stones as soil or 1/3 stones and 2/3 soil.

Then put in the soil and make holes for the plants that you will put in next.

Potting the Succulent Plant in

Make sure you make enough room to plant them and then pop them in to the soil. Ensure  you look after the roots while removing them from their plastic pots and don’t pull them away from the plant by mistake.

Adding Moss to Terrarium

Once they are in – pat the soil all around so it is firmly in place and then grab some moss and pull it apart before applying it all around the plants. Pat it in. so that it is below them.

Lego Friends!Succulents

Add your decoration. We chose some of lego friends and some kitsch birds to complete them.

Birds in a Terranium

They only need watering about once a week, so very low maintenance. A sprite of water a few times a week will keep them looking lovely and healthy too.

If you would like to add any tips to this DIY or want to just say hi – do leave me a comment under this post or tweet @lucylovesyablog – I would love to hear from you.

As I was saying at the beginning of the post – It has been these last few days  – we popped to Manchester to see our   Daddio hard at work and watch Coldplay at Etihad Stadium. You can see the colour inspired pics from the set pics over on my Instagram page.

Have a good day.

Lucy x

Lightening The Living Room With Designers Guild Fabrics

Designers Guild by Lucy Loves Ya

These past few months I have slowly been making some new cushions, blinds and curtains for the living room. I wanted to lighten the room as although it is South facing, it still needs some help with light at times.

The sofas are both pink ( luckily Andy likes this colour) and I love to put pinks and greens together, so my first choice for some of the cushion fabric was Santiago in mint from Designers Guild. I made up some envelope cushions in it – it’s a plain weave made from polyester. It’s very sturdy and easy to sew with.

I also love, love, love stripes – especially on silk, so chose from the Franchini collection – Noir. Again very easy to work with, surprisingly so, actually considering it’s silk. The cushions are so crisp and tactile. I have plans now to use the turquoise colour way on another home project.
Christian Lacroix Fabric

When I first saw this digitally printed print by french fashion designer Christian Lacroix for Designers Guild, I was kind of mesmerized. It’s very clever because as you can see, the butterflies almost look 3D with their shadows. It creates movement on the cotton and the palettes used are really vibrant and striking – I had to have this design in the mix because it’s so intricate and it feels like adding extra artwork, but just on cushions instead.

Jessica Zoob Print

Talking of artwork, I hope you like our new print on canvas by the lovely artist Jessica Zoob ? I have been a fan of Jessica for a long time and was lucky enough to meet her last year at the Amara Awards. She was as sweet as I thought she would be. Totally in love with it. It’s called  ‘ Feeling Good ‘ and it makes me feel that every time I study it.

Designers Guild Christian Lacroix

Back to the curtain making … I used a corduroy ribbed velvet in ‘ Snow ‘  – it’s lovely to touch, very soft and rich. I’ve used this before for a bedroom and would recommend it for blinds or curtains. It comes in so many shades. Bliss !

It’s the first time I have made such big curtains. I added to widths of fabric to each side and was please that I did as it added extra volume which I think you need for the cosy effect. Of course, to use less you could make eyelet ones, but I like pencil pleat ones the best.

Designers Guild

The blind has turned out well and I was really happy to finish them and rest my fingers as with both the curtains and the blind my thumb had gone numb with all the hand stitching !

Designers Guild by Lucy Loves Ya Designers Guild Fabric

Putting all of these different textures together has added warmth to the room but the colours have lightened it. If that makes sense ?

Designers Guild Stacked Cushions copy

What do you think of the fabrics ? Do you like my updated living room ? I hope so. Do leave me a comment under the post – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Designers Guild Cushions

If you want to have a look at some more gorgeous Designers Guild fabrics and their collaborations, wallpapers, paints or gifts –  have a look here and feel free to ask me any questions of you are tempted to use of them yourself.

Lucy x

I was sent fabric by Designers Guild for this post. All opinions are my own.

#InspirationIsColour – The Sequel :)

Lucy Loves Ya 21.01.30

Left to right: littlehouseonthecorner, capturebylucy, oldfashionedsus, cassiefairy, lucylovesyablog, theenchantedflower, potterandbloom, madebylolly, penelopehopestudio

It was my Birthday a few days ago and am I’ve had a lovely time with family and friends. Although I tell my self each year that it’s just another day – it really does feel special to see them all and celebrate a little. Any opportunity to do so ! I felt thoroughly spoilt.

Now, as promised, a lovely new batch of gorgeous images by fellow instagram colour lovers. I find it quite astonishing when I click on the hashtag #InspirationIsColour on instagram and see more and more fab pics being added – by some of my favourite accounts too.

Lucy Loves Ya Inspiration

Left to right: thesilverfactory, mcv96, byvanessaleigh, miafleur_home, godsavethepeas, thecreativepair, abookishbaker, pastapatchwork, forestpoppy  Such an inspiring place to be and still my favourite, very badly disguised, not so guilty pleasure.

Recently my own instagram photos have been regrammed by the wonderful and talented girls at A Beautiful Mess and Honey of California amongst others which is always a great boost because they rock.

Inspiration Is Colour

Left to right: jennamichellepink, designangel, jessrose1702, hollymartin00, hellopartyinsta, eliza_charlie_tilly, ana.moraissoares, marwahzd, judithinwonderland

I don’t really need to say anymore, except, that I am really chuffed that people are joining in and adding such wonderful images from around the world. It’s so good to connect with them all.

Maybe you’d like to add some of your bright photos too on instagram ? I’d love to see them and hopefully share them on my next #InspirationIsColour blog post. Please do and also leave a comment here to let me know which of these pics are your favourite. You can click on the links to take you to the accounts and see moods more inspiring, colourful images.

Keep a look out for a rather superb giveaway coming next on Lucy Loves Ya. I’m rather excited about the collaboration as I”m a big, big fan of the company !

Have a good one.

Lucy x

Introducing The 9 New Farrow & Ball Paint Colours For 2016

F & B

A couple of weeks ago, I arrived at an exclusive building called The Albany ( so much so, that you’re not even allowed to photograph inside ) Full of interesting history and with name plaques on the entrance walls of past residents that turned my head  and nestled in the heart of London, set back a little from the busy streets of Piccadilly. It was all quite hush hush and has been until today.

It was to meet with the Farrow & Ball team and a handful of other UK bloggers and journalists for a preview of the new Farrow & Ball paint colours.

Let’s face it, I am a colour geek and so an afternoon in such interesting company and for such an exciting reason was going to be right up my street. It is not something they do on a very regular basis, so it felt very exciting to be part of this all.

After chatting for a while and enjoying the beautiful and regal surroundings, we all sat down for the presentation by Joa Studholme, International Colour Consultant for Farrow & Ball.

Now, finally, I can share with you, the new colours, as today is the day they have become available online and in stores. I can also tell you a bit about the inspiration behind each name. Yippee ! Let’s do it …

Shadow White Image

Firstly, Shadow White. No. 282. Named by the soft tone created when whites are used in shaded areas and good for lovers of light neutrals, both for walls and woodwork. It is a lovely contrast for Shaded White No .201. A paint that suits any style of home.

Drop Cloth

Then comes Drop Cloth. No. 283. Slightly darker than Shadow White.

It’s relaxing, easy and muted. You could use it with Shadow White No 282. It’s not too yellow or grey. Very easy on the eye, I would say. It is one 4 of their key colours for 2016.

It’s name is a nod to painters and decorators because ‘ Drop Cloth ‘ is the traditional name for their dust sheets which this colour embodies.

Worsted

Worsted. No. 284. belongs to their ‘ Easy Neutral Family ‘ stronger in tone than its counterpart ‘ Purbeck Stone ‘ but lighter than Mole’s Breath ( I never tire of their lovely names ). It works well with colour schemes Wevet. No. 273 and Cornforth White No. 228 for instance or with a stronger palette of Cook’s Blue No. 237 and No. 286.

Does this colour remind you of city suits made from flat woven fabric ? It is named Worsted after the village in Norfolk where the yarn was originally woven.

Cromarty

I love the softness of this hue. Cromarty No. 285 is a lighter version of and works well with Light Blue No. 22 or with both the colours Pigeon No. 25 and  Blue Gray No. 91.

Inspired by sea mist and named after the Cromarty Fifth Estuary, a place of swirling mists mentioned daily in The Shipping Forecast. Conjures up some very vivid images for me. How about you ?

Peignoir

Peignoir No. 286 is absolutely perfect, in my opinion. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. Very soft pink with a huge dose of grey. It works with red based neutrals and darker tones such as Brinjal No. 222. It could also work with Cinder Rose No. 246 and Charlston Grey N0. 243. It is also one of Farrow & Ball’s key colours for 2016, picked for being serene and east to live with.

I think you might love what this colour name is based upon – chiffon gowns in which ladies traditionally brushed their hair in boudoirs. Vintage and very romantic.

YeabridgeGreen3

Here’s another of my favourites and I can’t wait to try it out on something soon. Yeabrige  Green No.287. It is fresh and very uplifting. What do you think of this ‘ avocado ‘ colour ? I am pleased that it’s another key colour for this year.

It was inspired by a palette shade found in a gun cupboard and also lush colours in a field nearby. It works with many shades. I particularly like the combination of it with Cooking Apple Green No. 32 and Off White No. 3.

Vardo

Okay, here is my absolute favourite new colour. I think I’ve mentioned before how much I like teal. The richer the better and Vardo No. 288 is just that.

I think quite rightly, the word ‘ flamboyant is mentioned by Farrow & Ball ‘ regarding this one. Joa recommended Down Pipe No. 26 or  Pavillion Gray No. 242 to go with this which think would be stunning. Or Raddicchio No. 96 – wow, can you imagine ? There are also the neutrals too, obviously.

A colour aimed to make people smile and a colour brings out the light side of us. I like the sound of that. Aptly named after classic romany gypsy caravans from the late 18th Century. You know, the horse drawn ones ? Apparently a similar colour was used in the intricate patterning of these vehicles, often over a red shade. Seen as an important cultural high point in decoration.

Inchyra Blue

The clever thing about this wonderful Inchyrya Blue No. 289, which as you can see is an aged blue grey, is that it can read more grey, blue or even green depending on the light. An alternative to charcoal it can be used add a hint of colour in to a very contemporary home or a more moody feel with my beloved Vardo No. 288 or Black Blue N0. 95.

First used at the classic Georgian Inchyra House to work with moody Scottish skies, it can be found on the exterior doors of their barn which sits at the bottom of a rather grey and ‘ imposing ‘ hill. This  colour needed to have depth and work sympathetically with the dramatic natural backdrop.

Salon Drab

A chocolatey hue. Sounds great does’t it ? Salon Drab No. 290. It’s an ‘ informed tone ‘ that colour experts use. Really rich and can sit with Arsenic No. 214 and Rectory Red N0 217 – two other fab colours. It offers a calmness and feels historic but I think would work in a modern setting. I love that is the fourth key colour for 2016. Hope to see it in lots of homes.

Combining ‘ Salon ‘ which is the small outer room off a drawing room with ‘ Drab ‘ a term favoured by colourists  – it describes a colour as lacking in brightness.

So, there we have it. The new colours. Joa explained how Farrow & Ball really wanted for the new additions to happily blend in on their colour charts well and not stand right out. I think they have achieved this so well and it is clear to see the love and passion that has gone in to the 9 colours. It was quite an honour to be part of their unveiling and to listen to someone so inspiring and clever.

If you want to get hold of a new colour chart then have a look at the website or pop in to your nearest stockist. 

I’d love to know your thoughts on them and which might be your favourite ? Especially now you know mine :) Leave me a comment or tweet me @lucylovesyablog ..

Lucy x

All images copyright of Farrow & Ball 2016.

8 Blogging Tips – You’re Welcome.

Blog Tips!

This post has been a long time coming. Now, I really feel I have some advice to offer and have been blogging long enough to know that what I say in this post has been tried and tested.

Quite often, I receive messages from new fellow bloggers who aren’t really sure what to say in their first post, which direction to go in or just how to get started. It is quite daunting, putting yourself out there for all to see.

I’m always happy to offer some help if I can, even if it’s not my field, because there were some lovely people who helped me when I started out and they made all the difference.

There are literally millions of blogs on the internet, how do you make yours stand out ? Here are some tips that I hope that you find useful …

B

Be Yourself.

Sounds a bit obvious I know but I can’t stress this enough. Don’t try to imitate some else’s blog. Of course, take inspiration from others but the thing that will make your platform stand out from others is your uniqueness. It’s easy to compare yourself to a fantastic blog with a zillion followers but they’ve probably achieved it by being themselves. Why shouldn’t you ? :)

L

Love your blog.

Be in love with your blog. Do it because you enjoy every moment. That sounds weird doesn’t it ? You’ll feel much more inclined to keep writing those posts if they’re about things you’re passionate about. If it means writing less posts to keep the quality high then so be it. Personally, I tend to update a few times a week as I would rather spend more time on each post but each to their own on that one.

Also, love the brands that you work with. It’s very flattering to be offered to do a collaboration or sponsored post, especially when you’re starting out. Think long term about it and whether it is the direction you want to go in – would you be happy for the post to still be on your blog in a years time ?

O

Offer Something.

What makes readers return to your blog and remember it amongst all of the others ? There are many ways of doing this.

For a start, find your niche and stick to it so that readers know who you are. If you review new products for example and are really honest, then people will trust you and  return more often.

Maybe you could do some giveaways with brands that you like ? It can be quite hard work but also beneficial. Make sure you stay focused on products that are a good match for your style.

Tutorials are good. Some of my most read posts are DIY ones. In fact, even though they were written some time ago, they are still read a lot daily. So, food for thought there ?

Advice posts ( a bit like this one ) are also a fab way of drawing readers. I don’t know about you but I do love to read ” How to ” posts. Maybe I’m just nosey … :)

G

Get in touch.

As I mentioned earlier, there are literally millions of blogs out there. You may have the most beautiful looking blog, full of interesting content, but that doesn’t mean every company will know about you. Make yourself known to them. Send an email to say hi. Suggest collaborating together at some point – maybe offer some ideas on how that could work out. Don’t be shy – the worst they could say is no ?

T

Take loads ( and I mean LOADS ) of photos.

When I started Lucy Loves Ya, I used my phone camera to take photos and quite honestly, didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing with composition, styling or editing and then sizing the images for the actual posts. It took time and I am still working at it !

I would recommend getting out and about and taking as many photos as you can, wherever you can. You can sometimes end up using random photos you’ve taken as part of a future post.

When using other photographers images, make sure you credit them ( and ask permission too ).

I

Inspiration.

What is your inspiration ? My inspiration is colour, interiors and anything sewing. I also love fashion – as long as it’s colourful ! It took me a while to really work out exactly what I love to blog about but if you stick with what inspires you, you cannot go wrong.

If you’re having a down day, let all the lovely bloggers, beautiful photos on Pinterest and Instagram cheer you up. We’re all here to support each other and there’s room for all of us to inspire !

P

Persevere.

Don’t give up. If you want to get something amazing out of it all, then keep plugging away. It takes time to reach your goals ( and then you’ll probably have some more ) so don’t give yourself a hard time if you write what you would consider a brilliant post and then your analytics ( more on that in a minute ) seem to show otherwise.

You’ll be so glad you did in the end. I promise.

S

Social Media.

Some advice posts will tell you that social media is not too important for getting your posts read.

I totally disagree on that one. For one, it’s fun. But more importantly, you hook up with so many other like minded bloggers and all of the companies that you might want to work with. Okay, so you might not get as many blog hits from it as you’d like but every time you tweet or instagram a photo, you’re reminding your followers that you’re still here and that you mean business ! :)  I wouldn’t recommend over doing it on your social media though. Too many updates can be a bit spammy, so again, keep it quality rather than quantity.

You will also find on many of your social media accounts that you can check your stats to see how many people have engaged with your posts which is very helpful.

Also, set up google analytics to check your visits regularly. It can tell you where your readers live, what they’re reading and for how long.

I hope this has been interesting for you ? It is how I see blogging and it works for me, maybe you have some tips to add too if you’re an experienced blogger ? If you have any questions then please do leave me a comment. As ever, I’d love to hear from you ….

By the way – if you’d like to know where I got these gorgeous ‘ Iron On Alphabet Patches ‘ in my photos – they were very kindly sent over to me by the lovely Jennie Maizels for this post. Check them out !

Lucy x

Inspire Me – With Textile Designer Sarah Campbell

1 sarah portrait 2012

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know very well how much I love Liberty London Prints.

So, can you imagine my surprise and excitement when the lovely people who represent Sarah Campbell got in touch for a meeting with her ?

Sarah and her sister, Susan founded textile design company Collier Campbell in the 60s, collaborating with Liberty, Habitat, Marks & Spencers to name a few. They also inspired Yves Saint Laurent on his first off the peg clothing line.

Today, Sarah is working with West Elm, Michael Miller Fabrics and also teaching workshops in London.

There is also an exhibition with many of their prints, currently running at The Fashion and Textiles Museum, exploring Liberty’s impact on British fashion …

How did you originally become a textile designer ?

I grew into it, almost behind my own back ! My sister, Susan Collier, had already begun her career as a textile designer in her early twenties and was also a mother of two small girls; she ‘ got busy ‘ and asked me to come and help. As I could draw and was an obliging younger sibling – I did. I was a teenager, and had no ambition to be a designer, or even anything ‘ artistic ‘ at all, but it turned out well – I had a feel for it – and we continued our working partnership for 50 years.

Collier Campbell-1

You’ve had an incredible career so far with Collier Campbell and now working as Sarah Campbell Designs, spanning over 5 decades – what have been your highlights and challenges since you first started ? 

Yes, we had a wonderfully productive career together and with our marvellous studio. Maintaining a business based on ‘ creativity ‘ is quite a challenge in itself, and the fact that there were two of us to withstand and share the slings and arrows was definitely important.

Some of the highlights have come as awards from our peers and the industry, the most prestigious of which was The Duke of Edinburgh’s Design Prize in 1984, given for our Six Views Collection. We were the first women to win this, and apart from one other, the only ones in its 52-year history – which is rather shocking.

There have been many feelings of achievement, and many knock-backs too. Looking from where I am now I think the whole collaboration with my sister and our extraordinary body of work is a tremendous cause for pride. There is a lovely book published about our years and work together – ‘ The Collier Campbell Archive ‘. I meet all sorts of people who tell me about patterns of ours that they’ve lived with and cherished over the years, and I feel very pleased that those fabrics went out there and did their jobs so well!

My challenge now is to continue solo, as I have been since Susan’s death in 2011, to invent and celebrate new and interesting patterns – I’m fortunate to be doing just this, and long may it last !

How have you managed to keep your feet on the ground with such a busy life and so many high profile collaborations ?

I’m not sure that I have always kept my feet on the ground … I think that maintaining busy-ness and good working relationships probably requires one to balance the fabulous flights of fancy with being pretty down-to earth; that takes acrobatic experience ! Children are helpful – watching the saturday football matches in the rain is an excellent exercise in remaining steady – especially when it’s muddy ! Susan and I saw ourselves as jobbing designers, which is a service as well as an inspiration – we earned our living by painting patterns, and I still do; as such income is determined by customers – generally very good levellers ! Success is so exciting and heady – but things can change quickly and there are no laurels upon which to rest for very long …

4 ysl board at current Art of Pattern at FTM

Collier Campbell inspired Yves Saint Laurent’s first ever ‘ off the peg ‘ clothing. What was it like working with one of the greatest ever fashion designers ? 

I have to clarify here: the original company Collier Campbell company wasn’t formed until 1979 / 80. All our work prior to that ( Liberty, early Habitat, Soiries Nouveautees etc ) was produced under our own names. When it came to YSL –  he was an established customer of Liberty of London Prints, the then wholesale arm of Liberty. Having said that, it was incredibly exciting when the European salesman Gilbert Saada told us that St Laurent wanted our prints. We had done a series of very freely painted folk-inspired patterns, and one in particular – patterned bands with a bird – took his fancy. It suited the Gipsy look that he was developing for his first off-the-peg collection – very Matisse and Russian blouse. But he didn’t want the birds ! So we repainted it, and made a little group of designs to be printed on Liberty’s lovely Tana lawn cotton; these then formed an integral part of his first famous ready-to-wear fashion collection. We loved painting those patterns, and went to it with gusto – and lots of singing and dancing ! The fact that one of the greatest French couturiers wanted our designs was a tremendous confirmation of our belief in the hand-painted, spontaneous look that we were developing ( among many others ).

Has your design process changed over the years ? If so, how ?

In essence I still hand-paint my designs in repeat as I always have done, and for the most part I use gouache on paper.  But added to that – for one of my customers I often send sketches, constructions and ideas in different mediums for them to work up for their own particular needs and products.

The process of translation and reproduction has changed: when we started, each colour would be hand-traced by the engraver to make each separate screen or roller. In the early days we often had to stop engravers from ‘ tidying up ‘ our paintbrush marks ! Every colourway was painted and balanced, and the skilful eye of the printer in matching was integral to the success of the cloth. Nowadays designs are scanned, separated and colour-matched by computer – though in the case of my work the starting point remains the same – the hand-painted mark. One of the advantages of digital printing is that each nuance of colour and gesture can be translated onto the cloth should one wish it, whereas traditionally conventional printing is about understanding flat colour and screens. These are different skills – but all worthwhile and full of adventure.

6 cote d'azur silk scarf 2015

Where do you find your inspiration ? 

Everywhere really; I can’t stop things jumping into my eye, or setting me off on a train of investigation. New briefs can send me seeking new materials – brushes, papers, techniques, types of paint – which in themselves bring their own inspiration. And particular requests often require research. But there’s nothing like just starting with a clear surface and the hint of an idea waiting to grow – they can push me down all sorts of self-inspirational alleys !

7 my paintbrushes 2015

When working on projects for brands – are you generally given a free rein with your ideas ?

Customers each have their own particular identities and needs, their place in the market and their history. I think people come to me for a fresh point of view about colour and pattern, and a skill in its execution – to see what I’ll make for them. Customers often say one thing, but in the course of a conversation may be unconsciously stroking a piece of paper with quite another thing on it – that’s the pattern they’re really drawn to ! It’s worth remembering – and listening very hard – in order to be able to use one’s skill to bring it all together and take a step forward at the same time. And if someone can never sell green, for instance, it’s a good idea to take note… but not necessarily to leave it at that …

8 liberty dress 1970

The Liberty in Fashion Exhibition is celebrating 140 years of the company. How do you think Liberty have had such a strong impact for so long, with their fashion and interior prints ?

9 liberty dolls 2015It’s an interesting question; certain names hold their magic for a long time through thick and thin, the ups and downs of fashion and the market. To start with, the word itself –  liberty – has special meaning and significance, a freedom to which we may all aspire.

The first Mr Liberty began his company with a clear position – providing beautiful cloth, interesting patterns, considered design, artistic integrity. He had a real feel for his customers and from the start he appealed to a particular clientele who shared these values. The company also achieved the remarkable feat of selling cloth, via both retail and wholesale, to everyone from your granny to Yves St Laurent – as the exhibition shows so well. But I think the secret of their success is that they have maintained their standards in design, quality, colour and have stood by their original commitment to excellence in cloth and pattern, newness and tradition – and there are very many customers who feel the same way and want to be able to be part of that.

10 west elm rug 2015 12 hand painted fabric 2014

What are you currently working on ?

Yesterday I sent off the latest batch of ideas and sketches to WestElm in Brooklyn for their spring / summer ’17 ranges; for the last three years or so I’ve worked for them for ten days each month developing new ideas and solutions to their briefs. It’s a really lovely collaborative job, and so exciting to see what they make of my work.

Today on my table is the new collection for Michael Miller Fabrics, actually for this summer; it’s our third together, and I’m busy completing the repeats just now. These gorgeous cottons are sold into the home-sewing and quilting market and are available worldwide; I so enjoy making a range and seeing the yardage coming through with its different colourways. I’d like to have the time and wherewithal to make some quilts myself – I’m often sketching plans for them; we have made some adorable art dolls with the fabrics though.

11 mmf sea holly fabric 2015

I’m also completing the preparations for teaching at West Dean next week; running short courses and workshops is something new I’ve been doing in the last few years and I really enjoy it. This one will be exploring pattern – how it works and how to make it. I teach painting directly onto cloth as well, both silk and cotton, and have several courses lined up at Bradness Gallery in the spring and summer, and at Morley College in the next academic year. And I’m invited back to Guadalajara to teach there again later in the year – exciting. Oh, and I’m hoping to run a flag-&-banner-making workshop in the Herefordshire woods later in the year…

Then there’s the next blog to write and illustrate – something I do every three weeks or so and due any day now. And a commission to hand-paint some curtains; I have to admit this has been waiting its turn for some time and now I’m just about ready !

I’m planning a new collaboration specifically with upholstery in mind using both printed and hand-painted linen on particular pieces. And I’m always sampling new products for our on-line shop – scarves, cards, painted creatures …

 

13 bedouin stripe scarf 2015And although the design work for this range was done a little while ago I’m really looking forward to our new collection of ceramics and homewares coming on the market any minute now. It’s called Viva ! and brings an abundance of colourful geometrics to the dining table – and the tea – tray.

14 magpie 2016

Can you give any advice to anyone wanting a career in textile design ?

Love pattern, listen to your customer, enjoy being useful !

Thank you so much to Sarah for sharing her inspirations and advice. Do you have a favourite print ?

If you’d like to have a look at her website. Here it is – Sarah Campbell Designs.

 

Have a good day.

Lucy x

Photo credits: Image 1, copyright of Virginie Guiriaboye. Image 5 copyright of Polly Eltes ‘as seen in Period Living Magazine’. All others images copyright of Sarah Campbell.