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Showing posts with label giveaway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label giveaway. Show all posts

What does your home mean to you?...

Image via Pinterest
Legal and General recently asked me what does my home mean to me?  Well to me, it's the place where we are a family. We feel relaxed, happy, comfortable and loved.

It's where Dan and I became a family, the first house we owned as a couple.  Rufus was born here, upstairs just a foot away from his own bed now.  This old house will always have such fond memories, and moving from here (one day) will be a huge wrench.

Our home over the past 9 years has been decorated and re-decorated. We've made huge structural changes to provide space and flow for a growing family.  The wall between the kitchen and dining room knocked through to make a large open plan living space.  Perfect for family time.

Legal and General are asking you the same question.  What does your home mean to you?  And are giving away £200 worth of vouchers too.  To enter the giveaway, please login into the Rafflecopter widget below (you can do so with your facebook login).  Once logged in, you just need to answer three questions about moving home.  That's it... and you will be in with a chance of winning!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post was written in collaboration with Legal & General.

Meet the Maker - Jo Waterhouse (plus giveaway!)...

An important part of Littlegreenshed, I feel, is to support small independent businesses.  Artisans, designers, makers, small shops etc... all doing what they do so well.  One such person is Jo Waterhouse.  I have been a fan of Jo's work for a long time now, falling in love with her fish (above) and more recently her glove cushion.  Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen this beautiful cushion in my home.  After having lots of you enquire about it, I thought I'd share more about Jo and her work here... over to you Jo!

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do? 
Hello, my name is Jo, I'm a printmaker and also a treasure hunter. I'm a real home-bird, I like to make and find things for homes: mine mostly and yours too if you want. My stuff often gets described a described as quirky, which bugged me at first but I've made peace with it now - it's probably a pretty good description of what I do. 

Can you talk us through the processes behind one of you pieces? 
Yes, the fish is a lovely thing: it was one of the very first things I made and has become a bit of a mascot, so much so that sometimes people refer to me as 'the fish lady'. Which is nice. The idea for the fish came when I was sat behind my antiques stall with my friend Karen: we sit and talk all day, it's a very nice time. I carved the shape of the fish from lino - I didn't sketch it first or anything because I thought it would be nice and wonky but as it turns out it was pretty neat. Then I printed it on to tracing paper and exposed it on to a screen for printing on to fabric. I tried printing on to fabric direct from the block but the colours were never deep enough for me. So I've had that screen for a while, and from time to time I bring it down to print a fresh batch of fish. Once they're printed I cut and sew them together and stuff them, usually whilst watching telly. 

You are an avid collector of ‘toot’, I am too! Can you tell us where you go, and what are you looking out for? 
Yessss. Toot is the best. I go to lots of places - car boots and markets. And because I'm at car boots so often spending money I sometimes get invited to peoples houses/sheds to buy; that part can be a ruddy dream! It can also be very disappointing. I'm always looking for things with the right feel: that look handmade or well designed. Sometimes really badly made is nice too. I'm also looking for stories: I'm a real sucker for the romance of a loved item with a story. It is amazing what sort of things can turn up and also a bit depressing the amount of stuff there is out there and most of it is completely useless. 

You have just opened a pop up shop, can you tell us a little about it? 
It's a shop-in-a-shop on Exmouth Market, at a shop called Family Tree. The owner of the shop Takako invited me in for the Christmas period and I'm so grateful because it can be really cold on those markets. I will still do some markets over the festive period but I'll have time to thaw in between times too. We're open everyday in December up until Christmas eve, from 11am-6pm so there's not much of an excuse not to pop in. It's at 53 Exmouth Market (EC1R 4QL). 

What is your inspiration behind opening the shop? 
I'm always looking for that perfect space for sharing with people and to realise easily those ideas I have in the shower or whilst I'm cycling about. A shop is a really nice space because it is a place where people can interact, or not interact: people are comfortable in shops and receptive to creativity in a way they wouldn't be in other places. Sometimes I want to make things that are more fine-art-ish than retail-ish but I would still put them in the shop because I can present them in the way I want. 

What is a typical working day for you? 
I have a couple of working day formats . . . The 'up at 3am, sell, sell, sell . . . crash' market day. The 'sleep late and play at being arty' day the 'up at 8 and try to be productive before shop time' day And endless variations in between. 

What do you love most about what you do?
I love the fact that I don't have to do it if I don't want to. I can be quite free and say yes (or no) to projects, which is really nice because I can make time for learning and - those are my favourite things to do. 

You have a love of plants, can you tell us which is your favourite at home? 
Well - I love Pileas: those little characterful ones that look like saucers on sticks. I have lots of those, and I sell their babies in the shop (gosh that sounds barbaric). But I have a real fondness for my old gammy plants - I have one called Licky Tongue and one called Fingers, who are lopsided cactus friends. I also have a new friend on the cactus shelf which Rosalie (Schweiker) planted up - it's a single sausagey cactus of around 6 inches and she's planted two small round succulents at the base of it . . . geddit. So that's pretty damn hilarious. 

If you could collaborate with any other artist / maker, who would it be and why? 
Hmmm. I'd like to work with some people with real, concrete skills: maybe letterpress people, bookbinders or someone who makes amazing websites. I'm probably over thinking this but collaborating with someone amazing and creative would be so grim. It's like the old 'who would you invite to your dream dinner party?' question - good in principal but imagine if you actually did have Gandhi and Marilyn Monroe in your living room it'd be awful: I'd spin out. So I guess the really truthful answer is: no-one, because I am afraid of being in a room with people I don't know for too long. I already collaborate a lot with my friend Rosalie and it's really nice, and next year I'm going to make a book with my friend Hannah so I'm not entirely antisocial. 

If you were stranded in the wilds what item would you want with you to survive? 
A knife? That would be handy right? I reckon I'd be really good at surviving in the wilds. I think this because I've watched some telly programmes about it, so I hope my faith never gets tested. But then again I didn't ever learn printmaking properly, I just saw people doing it and went for the 'look confident' approach at my print room. So, yeah, I'll be fine. See you out there. 

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
I'd love to have some books under my belt by then - a children's book for sure. I also have endless written bits that I'm pulling together into small books at the moment but it takes real guts to show them to people. I'll have some kids by then I hope, so that'll keep me busy If I do achieve those things it'll just be straight on to the next plan: I'm no good at taking stock. Where we'll be geographically I just don't know: the world is our oyster. A lot of people are leaving London now, it's quite exciting, seeing so many people I really admire making amazing lives and businesses in different places. I reckon we'll follow suit pretty soon, as a bargain hunter (stingy person) it seems ridiculous to live in a place where living costs are so out of whack. Your place looks nice: maybe we could come live with you?

Thank you Jo!  Yeah, I have a small room you could squeeze into, more the merrier!! 

Jo has kindly offered one Littlegreenshed reader a chance to win her lush cuddly fish toy.  Perfect Christmas gift for your child, a child you know or for yourself!! (I want it).  Just complete the widget below.  Winners will be announced on Friday 28th November.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet the Shop - Muddy Puddles UK ( plus giveaway)

As a mum of two 'wild' boys, we have to get our daily dose of nature.  Be that the walk to school or a wild adventure at the weekend.  We like to be out in all weathers, so we need clothing that will keep us both dry and warm.  I recently discovered Muddy Puddles when I was looking for a new raincoat for Rufus. Muddy Puddles are a UK based company which sell good quality outdoor wear for children.  After chatting I just knew that I had to share their story with you...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do? 
My name is Natasha and I am the Chief Mudder at Muddy Puddles. We sell wellies, waterproofs and ski gear for children from 0-12 years and are on a crusade to get children outdoors all year round. 

What was your inspiration behind opening the shop? 
I am most inspired by the childhood I had and the one I am trying to give my children. My sisters and brother and I were kicked out into the garden after breakfast and told not to come indoors until lunchtime. The unfettered liberation of exploring the outdoors and using our own imaginations was a very magical way to grow up. With my own children living in North London there is a little bit less space to roam in but we still have our best days together as a family when we all plan an outdoors adventure. 

What is a typical working day for you? 
I am very lucky as the Muddy Puddles head office is in my house which means I can attempt to juggle family and working life. Following on from the mad dash of the school run I come down to my desk and start the day with the usual tasks of emails and checking our site is looking good and fresh. Mid-morning a strong coffee is essential and then there tends to follow a series of meetings with our muddy team and potential partners we would like to work with. As we are a small business I am still fully involved with every aspect from product design and development to any promotions we are putting out, how it will all look and what we are featuring on our blog. If there is a chance I try and grab a quick lunch with my two year old in the middle of the day but otherwise push on through until 6 when I head back upstairs to the family chaos of bath time and bedtime stories. 

What do you love most about what you do? 
I love almost every aspect of the job but the part that inspires me the most is producing great quality but affordable products that really give children the freedom to play outdoors whatever the weather. 

What is your number 1 best selling item? 
Muddy Puddles was built on the back of our Original waterproof all in one suit which is still our bestseller today and can be found in forest schools, on farms and on children in parks across Britain. 

Do you have any tips on being outside in all weathers with kids? 
There are lots of ways to make outdoor trips in winter as well as summer a success. I find that making sure you know where you are going and what you are going to do is important on colder days. Then it is always good to add a bit of excitement and adventure to the trip. When I was a child our walks through the woods were always hunts for creatures called OggyPogs that could emerge from any direction. 

Where do you like to spend your rainy days outside? 
For my two year-old a lane full of puddles is still the perfect outing on a rainy day, but for the bigger two the most fun we have had in the rain is to climb a hill and go a bit crazy dancing, spinning and catching raindrops in our mouths. Then racing home full of the exhilaration of the outdoors. 

If you were stranded in the wilds what item would you want with you to survive? 
To be honest although I love the outdoors I am not brilliantly practical when it comes to the survival stakes so maybe a really good book to keep me distracted until someone came to rescue me! 

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
The Muddy Puddles dream is to clothe the world’s outdoor adventurers. We are a small team now who all passionately believe in this mission. If we have managed to achieve this in ten years and really are inspiring more children everywhere to spend more time outdoors, then we would feel immensely happy and proud.

Thank you Natasha, such a great interview and so lovely to discover that you have wild adventures too, not just a brand, you live it!

Muddy Puddles are offering one lucky Littlegreenshed reader a chance to win a £50 voucher to spend on any item in their Muddy Puddles shop.  Perfect timing, with Christmas on it's way and Winter around the corner.  Tog your little ones out in warming outdoors wear.

To enter, please complete the widget below.  Winner will be announced on Wednesday 26th November.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Good Life Experience Festival - ticket giveaway...

You know me. I like nothing more than being outdoors, cooking over an open fire, or being at a festival.  So you can imagine my joy when I discovered The Good Life Experience Festival.

Here is a little about it...

The Good Life will be a festival like no other. It is created by Cerys Matthews and Charlie and Caroline Gladstone who have put together a day of the very best Culture, Food and the Great Outdoors. This will be a voyage of fun and discovery for the whole family.
Watch Cerys perform...learn to throw an axe or fire an arrow…cook on a campfire with Tom Herbert of The Fabulous Baker Brothers…abseil…learn how to cook with Bill Granger…eat some spectacular British food…learn how to make sausages or skin a your new favourite beer…dance to Paprika….take time out with some yoga…learn bushcraft. This and loads more is The Good Life Experience. Welcome!

Set on the stunning Hawarden Estate, with a fantastic line up of music and culture (curated by Cerys Matthews), food, demo's and activities there is something for everyone.  More info please have a look at their website.
Dan and I are so completely over excited.  A festival that is completely designed for the both of us... our mate EJ Osborne (Hatchet + Bear) will be running a spoon carving workshop.  As will our #52loavesproject bread master Tom Herbert (Fabulous Baker Brothers).  It will be great to catch up with them and meet some new faces and learn some new skills too.
The Good Life Experience has kindly donated two adult tickets to the event to be given away to Littlegreenshed readers... YAY!  All you have to do is fill in the rafflecopter below... the giveaway will run for a week, with the winner to be announced next Tuesday 
And that's not all.  The Good Life Experience has also kindly offered Littlegreenshed followers a 15% discount on all tickets for this week too - using the code IMWITHTHEBAND.  You can buy your tickets here.

See you there!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY - Falcon Enamelware...

No expedition into the wilds is complete without a set of Falcon Enamelware.  Come to think of it no expedition into the wilds is complete without stopping for a brew or two.  To us it's the most important part of the adventure.  Finding the perfect spot to set up camp, light a fire / kelly kettle and make a cup of tea or coffee using the aeropress.  We always take our Falcon enamel mugs with us, and on longer camping trips our tea pot comes too.

Meet the Shop - Decorator's Notebook & Giveaway...

I am super delighted today to introduce one of my March sponsors - Decorators Notebook.  I caught up with Bethan recently to ask her a few questions about her lovely shop...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do?
I’m Bethan John and I own the Decorator’s Notebook shop with my brother Joe John. We sell beautiful homewares with interesting origins, made by designers and craftspeople in Britain and overseas. You’ll find us online at

What is your inspiration behind opening the shop?
It all started about three years ago with the Decorator’s Notebook blog. I was working as an interiors journalist in London and wanted an online scrapbook where I could gather decorating ideas I might like to try one day.  This was before Pinterest launched so a blog seemed just the thing! Blogging was a hobby to start with, but gradually more people became interested in my style and opening a shop selling products with a similar aesthetic seemed a natural next step.

How would you describe the feel of your shop?
We love products that are made from natural materials using traditional methods, ranging from woven Welsh blankets to thrown terracotta tableware and hand-embroidered cushions. The collection is very tightly curated and intentionally quite small, so that it’s easy to find products that will look great together. I’d say the look is pared-back and rustic, with a simple beauty.

Tell us some of your favourite pieces /designers you stock
That’s too hard… I love everything for a different reason! I adore our kantha bedspreads for the inspiring story behind them, the double sided frames for the personalised memory collages you can make, the wildflower colours in our Burren cushion, the way the landscape hooks remind me of my favourite Lake District walk each time I hang up my coat.

What do you love most about what you do?
Imagining our pieces in their new homes, settling in with people who will enjoy and treasure them. Everything in the collection has been carefully chosen because it speaks to me, and it’s such a lovely feeling when someone buys from us and I know the designs call out to others in the same way too.

Please tell us about your current loves...

* Photography – One of the bonuses that’s come from opening the shop is that I’ve finally got to grips my DSLR camera. I was one of those people who was scared to switch off ‘auto’ but doing all our own product photography made me learn and now I love trying out new things.

* Illustration – Anything old and botanical. I collect the little Observer guides because I love their pages of line drawings.

* Graphic design – It’s more of a headache than a love, but we’re in the process of redesigning our blog so I’m making a big moodboard of layouts, fonts and styles.

* Home/interiors I’m loving the trend for deep, moody paint colours at the moment. I’m working myself up to painting a whole room in Farrow & Ball’s Stiffkey blue.

* Books – I’m a few pages away from finishing The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and I think it might just be the best book I’ve ever read. Coming from an English Lit graduate that’s praise indeed!

* Magazines – Kinfolk and Cereal for the photography.

* Shops – I’m beginning to discover lots of the wonderful places on my new West Country, many of them via Littlegreenshed.

* Drink - Always a gin and tonic with loads of fresh lime.

* Eat - At the moment our chickens are in overdrive, so I’m mainly eating eggs and looking for recipes that use as many as possible!

* Play - I recently started learning how to I recently started learning how to Lindy Hop! It’s great fun, good exercise and I love dressing up in ‘20s style.

Please describe your own interiors style at home
It’s very similar to Decorator’s Notebook – simple with lots of texture and natural materials. I love collecting things so you’ll always find little displays of bits I’ve found around the place… feathers, dried seedheads, pebbles with interesting shapes…

What do you think is going to be ‘hot’ for this year?
I think people are becoming more and more interested in the provenance of the things they have in their homes. What started in food – an appreciation of local, fairtrade, organic and handmade products – is spreading into design too. We all yearn for more of a connection to the things we surround ourselves with and a growing appreciation for simple objects made with love and care. Visitors to our shop and blog tell us they love our ‘Meet the Maker’ posts - they bring the stories behind the products to life and help people feel a more personal connection to the pieces they choose.

What is a typical working day for you?
I left London and moved back to Somerset – where Joe and I grew up – last summer when the plans for Decorator’s Notebook began to fall into place. I’m really loving working from home and being in the countryside… my commuting days are over! When I’m at home I can be found looking for new products, contacting makers and designers, blogging and on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. At lunchtime I usually take the dogs a walk in the woods behind the house – we have an English Pointer of our own and also socialise puppies for Hearing Dogs. All this punctuated with copious amounts of tea!

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I really love my vintage kantha bedspread, which I rather naughtily kept from our first box from Basha. Basha is a social enterprise in Bangladesh that helps women escape sex trafficking and rebuild their lives by providing stable employment, counselling, education and healthcare. Each of the kanthas is hand-sewn by one women from start to finish and completed with a label embroidered with her name and a link to her personal story. Mine was made by Nargis from a beautiful old navy and coral sari - I think of her every time I touch it.

If you were stranded in the wilds what item would you want with you to survive?
I’ve often thought I was a cavewoman in a previous life, as I really love the thought of living out in the wilds! I think I’d make sure I had an Opinel pocket knife with me, for hunting and whittling and whatnot.

Where would you like to be in ten years?
I’d love to be doing what I do now, but bigger, better and with more confidence.

Thank you Bethan and Joe - such a great interview.  Decorators Notebook are kindly offering all Littlegreenshed readers 10% off everything in the shop.  Offer is valid until the end of April.  Using the code: LGS10. (please note shipping still applies).

That's not all!  Oh no!  Bethan and Joe are also offering one Littlegreenshed reader the chance to WIN £30 voucher to spend in the shop!  Oh my goodness, what to choose?  I don't know about you, but I need everything!

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget below.  Winner will be announced on Monday 7th April. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note that this giveaway is for UK entrants only.  The voucher can only be used in one transaction.  No cash or credit change will be given if the item bought is under £30.

Giveaway - Sticky9...

If you know, or follow me on IG, you will know how obsessed I am with Instagram.  It's quick and easy and super addictive too.  I love taking memory photos, and seeing my IG friends stream too throughout the day.

So when Sticky9 asked me to have a look at their products, I didn't hesitate.  A chance to turn my beloved IG photos into magnets and phone cases.

Meet the Maker - Paper & Clay...

There is no stopping my love of ceramics.  Hand thrown mugs, glazed in earthy hues, paint splattered, wabi sabi in form.  Daily I pin beautiful items to my Home board, wishing my kitchen shelves contained them.  Wanting to drink my morning coffee from such beauties.  Recently I discovered the work of Brit McDaniel.  Her hand thrown Copenhagen mug had me swooning.  The line of the handle so perfectly unique, I want one!  I had to find out more, I hope you enjoy a little interview she has given us...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do? 
My name is Brit McDaniel, and I am a ceramic artist living and working in Memphis, Tennessee. I started my company, Paper & Clay, a little over a year ago, and in August of 2013 I was able to transition to full-time work with my little business. My focus is bringing a modern aesthetic to the tradition of handmade functional wares. All of my work is handmade from start to finish, by me and only me. I really enjoy the process-- starting with a lump of clay, and ending with something useful and pretty. I believe that form and function are natural bedfellows, and keep this in mind with my work. My pieces are made to be used, and to hopefully be a happy little part of your everyday experience. 

Apart from your work what else do you like doing? 
I LOVE baking. Pie, oh how I love to make a beautiful pie. And eating what I bake. Which reminds me, I also love (Bikram) yoga, but need to find more time for my practice. My jeans (and my brain) would thank me. I think many makers share this sentiment, but honestly I just love making things. Pottery, food, photographs, notes, sketches, a mess, anything. I always need to be creating something. I also really love to travel. New places and experiences are so inspirational because they give the viewer a fresh perspective.  I want to always be looking at my work differently, making improvements, and most importantly, growing. 

What is your favourite item in your shop and why? 
Oh, it’s so hard to choose a favorite. I like each of my designs for different reasons. My mugs are a labor of love. They are so involved, and perhaps because I spend so much time with each one, I fall in love a little bit with each of them. I like noticing their little distinctions, subtle differences in shape and size. But mostly I love them mugs because they are incredibly functional. They are durable and comfortable to hold. The matte glaze is smooth to the touch, and the lines are clean and simple. The old advice is, “write what you know”. I think “write what you’d want to read” is the better advice, and this translates perfectly to my work. I make the pieces that I want to have and use in my own home. 

Where does your inspiration come from? 
From so many different and unexpected places. From classic design, from beautiful photographs, from landscapes, from a place of necessity. I’m inspired by Danish design, and by many classics of the Mid-Century era. My wonderful partner, Barry, has an incredible eye for design, and has turned me on to many of my favorites (Eva Zeisel, to name just one). There’s also a secondary kind of inspiration, one that speaks to the business side of my work, and that comes from watching other people succeed on nothing more than talent and very hard work. For me, that’s the ultimate realization of happiness. Building something from nothing, and to make that something into the means by which you build your life and provide for yourself-- that is a beautiful thing. 

Describe your studio/workspace? 
It’s very small! My studio is a very dusty and sometimes very messy space, with the most amazing natural light. There are shelves everywhere which house my work in it’s various stages of completion. It’s always warm, and there is always music playing in the background. I almost always have a cup of coffee or tea by my side. 

What is a typical work day for you? 
My studio days always start with coffee at home. I  answer emails, check on new orders, and take care of other business tasks. My studio is pretty close to home, about a two mile drive. I always start with checking on work from the day before. Making sure things are drying properly, trimming and attaching handles to coffee mugs and rotating dry work into the kiln, to make room on the shelves for new pieces. I try to spend about 9 hours at the studio. I break it up into 4 hours of work, an hour for lunch and errands, and 4 more hours of work. Somedays, if I’m just not feeling it, I’ll work a few hours on other projects like cleaning and organizing my space. Other days, and especially if I’m approaching a deadline, my studio work can stretch into 12 hours or more. This can be exhausting at times, but deep down I really love pushing myself to work harder. Often it’s during these extra long days that I find ways to work better and smarter. 

Please tell us about your current loves... 
I’m totally captivated by the beautiful photo books available through Artifact Uprising. Their templates sync with your Instagram library, and you can create the most wonderful soft paper photo albums of your own images. I always love having physical prints of my images, and this is the perfect way to keep them organized. Check out their site here.
I follow and admire so many artists, photographers, designers etc., and I’m always exploring new eye candy.  Right now I am loving the work of Jared Small, a local painter here in Memphis. He paints these stunningly perfect portraits of mundane old houses from our very imperfect city. He captures their eeriness and their decay so beautifully. He is entirely self-taught, and an incredibly kind person. You can see more of his work here.
We love love love making handcrafted cocktails at home. We are big fans of Gin and Whiskey, and love experimenting with different recipes and new ingredients. One of our favorite finds is a small batch tonic called Jack Rudy. It is THE BEST. Seriously. More on JR here 
I am a lover of music of all kinds. From Joni Mitchell to Bon Iver to Maclemore. I can’t get enough. Lately though, I’ve been soaking up music with an American Bluegrass influence. I love Gillian Welch and  First Aid Kit, both of which are played in my studio daily. 

What do you love most about what you do? 
I love making something that didn’t previously exist.  I’m get to be the mother of all these little designs making their way into people’s lives across the world. There’s something really powerful about that. 

What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
Probably a my lovely handmade Walnut Rolling Pin from Board and Bread. It is so perfectly made, and combines my love of making, baking, and of the person who gave it to me. 

If you were stranded in the wilds what item would you want with you to survive? 
A furry companion of some sort. And pie. 

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
I would love to be doing exactly what I’m doing now, only better. I have a happy little home with a witty and wonderful writer, a sweet little dog, and the only cat I’ve ever loved. If I can continue my life with those three, and keep making my living as a maker, I’ll be one happy little lady. 

Where can we buy your work?
My Etsy store: Paper & Clay Studio

What a beautiful interview from an amazing talent.  You love her work right?  Brit has kindly offered an amazing giveaway to one lucky Littlegreenshed reader.

A $30 gift voucher to be used in her store.  The voucher doesn't include postage unfortunately.  Please enter the rafflecopter widget below.  Giveaway ends Midnight Saturday 1st February.  Giveaway is open to worldwide entrants.  Good luck!

GIVEAWAY! - Thorntons Christmas Hamper...

Image via here
I love chocolate! Who doesn't?  I was recently sent by Thorntons a hamper of chocolate for the boys.  It was their Snowman hamper, like the film.  The boys love that film, they watched it every year with their Grandma when they were very small.  So choosing this hamper I thought would bring back lots of lovely memories.

In it I received 2 large Snowmen, 2 Snow dogs, 2 selection boxes, 2 small snow men and 2 packs of milk chocolate shapes.  All beautifully packaged in a large lidded box (which I shall use for Christmas Decoration storage after Christmas).

Dan helped himself to a small snow dog, he said the white chocolate was creamy and delicious.  Ahem!  I did say it was for the boys!!!  I am going to keep the rest for stocking fillers and to give to the boys Cousins as extras with their presents.

Thorntons have a large range of Christmas chocolate hampers available for delivery this Christmas here.

The lovely people of Thorntons are giving away to one Littlegreenshed reader a Christmas Hamper of their choice!

Yep!  You too can devour deliciousness this Christmas.  Christmas and Chocolate are meant to be!

All you need to do is complete the following form...

Good luck.  Giveaway ends on Tuesday 17th December (so you can receive it in time for Christmas).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Written in association with Thorntons Chocolate. We were kindly gifted a hamper for Christmas.

Makers Profile & giveaway - Eloise Renouf

I am super excited to bring you my next Makers Profile interview.  The uber talented and super whizz that is Eloise Renouf.  Designer of mid-century inspired prints, fabrics and accessories.  Her work is so inspiring.  I caught up with her recently to ask her a few questions...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do?
I'm Eloise Renouf. I'm a freelance designer and illustrator. I work on commission projects, and also sell my own range of prints and fabric accessories online. I teach part-time at Nottingham Trent University, and am a Mum to three little boys. 

Apart from your work what else do you like doing?
I enjoy spending time with my family outdoors - the opposite of what most of my work life entails. I like country walks, browsing car boot sales and flea markets, nosing around old book shops, visiting art galleries, reading (when I get the chance) and dinner with friends.

What is your favourite item in your shop and why? 
At the moment it is my new cushion - probably the grey or mustard colour way. I'm pleased with the design and the fabric quality, and it represents the direction in which I'd like to move my business forward. 

Where does your inspiration come from?
From textures and patterns I see around me, vintage books, paintings, mid century interiors, architecture, ceramics. I like the idea of taking inspiration from a three-dimensional object, and re-interpreting it in two-dimensional form.

Describe your studio/workspace?
Unsatisfactory! I work from home due to my family situation and divide my work space between the office, where I have my Mac, and the dining room table! It's far from ideal in terms of space, and being able to leave work out. But I enjoy being at home to be around the boys, and I can multi-task with some of the household chores! We're moving soon, so I 'm hoping that a large designated room will be the new reality.

What is a typical work day for you?
My work days vary widely depending on what is on the agenda. Quite often I'm juggling work with caring for our youngest son who is just fifteen months. On those days I snatch time when he has a nap, or take him with me to shop for art or sewing supplies. And I then work for several hours in the evening. On other days my Partner has our little one, and I can knuckle down for a whole day. Those days are a mix of packing and shipping orders, designing, researching, painting, emailing and sorting! I usually break around the time my big boys are back from school, and then start again after their bed time. I've become quite a night owl.

Please tell us about your current loves... 
* Photography - Instagram. It's quite addictive. It's a nice little break from work, and I like the feeling of contact with the outside world, even if you don't leave the house. There's also such a diverse range of images at your fingertips - much to delight and inspire.
* Illustration/Graphic Design - Book illustration, poster art and printmaking from the Fifties and Sixties. Robert Tavener is a current favourite.
* Home/interiors - I love browsing all the images of mid-century houses on Pinterest, and dreaming of owning one one day. Friends of ours have recently bought a fabulous example, and it's a joy to spend time there. They own and run a business selling 20th Century furniture, so the decor is perfect too.
* Blogs - I find it hard to find the time to follow blogs on a regular basis, so only occasionally dip in and out of them. I've had some lovely mentions on blogs recently and greatly appreciate these - Lisa Congdon wrote a wonderful piece about my new book "Twenty Ways To Draw A Tree" on her blog, as did Bowie of Print and Pattern. It's lovely to be here too!
Books - I find myself looking at picture books a lot of the time, but have been enjoying the new book about The Edinburgh Weavers by Lesley Jackson. For reading pleasure, David Lodge makes me laugh out loud with his witty observations and brilliant delivery.
Magazines - Elle Decoration, Frankie and Uppercase top my list.
Eats - I'm mostly vegetarian, but do eat fish. At this time of year I get excited about making homemade soups - Butternut Squash Bisque was our latest triumph. I'm also always looking for new pasta recipes that are quick and easy and suit the whole family.
* Drinks - I'm a "builder's tea" drinker during the day, and a white wine drinker in the evening . . . though with the nights drawing in it will veer towards red.
Music - My musical tastes are pretty eclectic and depend on my mood, but my favourite album at the moment is Ray Lamontagne's "God Willing And The Creek Don't Rise". Melodic, soulful, intelligent, and the guy has a voice to die for (in my opinion!).

What do you love most about what you do?
I love being creative, and getting paid to do what I love! I enjoy the freedom of being my own boss. I love the fact that I can do the school run and spend time with my boys because I work from home. I love the variety - each day is different.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
It has to be the little models made by my boys that come home from school - I have two little hedgehogs made from clay with sticks for spines that sit on a shelf in our lounge. They make me smile every time I look at them.

If you were stranded in the wilds what item would you want with you to survive?
A warm blanket. I hate feeling cold!

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
In a similar situation to now - healthy and happy with all my family around me; but perhaps with a little more space, more opportunities to travel, and a business that has grown enough to fund it!

Where can we buy your work?
You can buy my wares from my Etsy shop, I'll also be making appearances at Christmas Craft Fairs in and around Nottingham in November and December. Come and say hello if you can!

Just look at all that scrummy fabric!  I am thinking of buying some and making some cushions for my sofa.  The problem is what too choose!  Argh... dilemma indeed, such beauties.

Eloise has kindly donated one Littlegreenshed reader a chance to win any A4 print and pouch from Eloise's Etsy shop - you choose!  (you might have a real problem there, because I certainly can't choose!).

Winner will be announced on Wednesday 16th October - good luck!

If you would like to be featured on Makers Profile, 
please drop me an email and I can send my media pack.

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Artist Profile & Giveaway - Carly Dodsley...

Look at this plate, it is soooo gorgeous isn't it?  It is by the talented ceramic artist Carly Dodsley. I first discovered her incredible work via her Facebook Page and immediately fell in love.  I caught up with Carly recently for a chat about her and her work:

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do? 
I’m Senior Designer at Royal Stafford, which is situated in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, right at the heart of The Potteries. Alongside this position, I also design my own ceramics range, which was launched in 2012 and is manufactured by Royal Stafford as part of the English Eccentrix collective. My creamware collection comprises of plates, canisters, mugs and jugs. 

Apart from your work what else do you like doing? 
My work is one of my greatest passions; I spend a lot of time designing, and discovering more about work I admire. When I’m not doing this, I drag my long-suffering husband around endless charity shops and antique centers in search of goodies to add to our horde. My quest for bargains has recently extended to metal-detecting, but that’s another story…. 

What is your favourite item currently on sale, and why? 
This is like being asked to pick a favourite child! Of course, I love all of my designs, each of which is special in its own way. (Although I’m rather fond of my new peacock plate, which features motifs from earlier work, along with my first attempt at white-line drawing on a block colour background.) 

Where does your inspiration come from? 
Great British designers of the mid-twentieth century are a constant source of inspiration for my work; I’m particularly drawn to the work of Jessie Tate, Lucienne Day and Kathie Winkle, as well as Midwinter homeware and early pieces by Terence Conran. Among modern designers, I’m very fond of the beautiful patterns created by Eloise Renouf, as well as the design ethos of Ercol furniture. Living with items by all these designers, as well as collecting and reading about their work, motivates me to produce pieces that are both visually arresting and designed for daily use. 

Describe your studio/workspace? 
My main studio is located directly above the factory floor at the Royal Overhouse Manufactory in Burslem, which is one of the last surviving Victorian potteries still in operation. The studio is filled to the rafters with ceramic samples – none of which I can stand to throw away - and there are also numerous pieces of paper pinned to the walls displaying various ideas and reminders. The workspace can feel chaotic at times, but its location in the factory means I am able to see my designs progress from the drawing board, through the printing, glazing and firing processes, to the finished article sitting in the showroom next door. It is a privilege to work in such a traditional environment, as I’ve had the good fortune to meet those who work on the factory floor and learn more about the great skill and care with which they produce my work. 

What is a typical work day for you? 
From Monday to Friday my working day starts at 8.30am, which is when I begin work on site at the factory. My primary activity for the day will be creating designs to meet any number of briefs. The company produces little work under its own Royal Stafford brand, and so much of this work is produced for well-known High Street companies, under their own labels. As a result, I also spend time each day liaising with companies, and attend weekly meetings to present work directly to clients. My own Carly Dodsley Ceramics are designed out of office hours and at weekends. I try to set aside one day at the weekend where I do not work, although this rarely happens! 

What do you love most about what you do? 
I love the idea that I’m creating something that can be both decorative and functional; something that might become part of someone else’s day-to-day living; something that helps to make a home. 

What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
A ceramic bowl I received as a wedding gift from my husband’s uncle, Dan Wright; he’s an extremely talented studio ceramicist based in St David’s. The bowl is decorated with hand-drawn designs depicting places and objects associated with my marriage. It’s beautifully crafted and very dear to me. 

If you were stranded in the wilds what item would you want with you to survive? 
Picking up on my earlier confession, I would probably want my cherished metal-detector by my side. In my experience, I tend to discover knives, forks and nails during my excursions; while these are disappointing finds most of the time, I imagine they would come in very handy in the wilds! 

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
Ceramics will always be my first love but I would like to branch out into textiles and wallpaper design. That’s the fall-back option if I fail to discover the next Staffordshire Hoard…. 

Where can we buy your work? 
My new ceramic ranges will be on sale from October at the Southbank Centre’s design store on Festival Terrace. My work can also be purchased online through the English Eccentrix website:  I have also recently designed a range of greetings cards for the Illustrated Paper Company,

In love right?  Carly's designs, to me, are so reminiscent of 50's Mid Century ceramic wear - and I personally want ALL in my kitchen.  Especially the Peacock plate above.

Carly is kindly offering one Littlegreenshed reader a chance to win the Peacock plate above - (please can I keep it!  It is so so gorgeous.)  To enter fill in the forms below, for a chance to win.  Giveaway end on Friday 20th September, good luck!

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