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Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interview. Show all posts

Meet the Shop - Seven Boot Lane + giveaway!

Every Autumn, there is that eternal search for a great pair of boots.  A pair of boots that will keep you feet cosy throughout Winter, that look stylish and cool.  A perfect pair of boots should see you through all types of situations, from work, to play, to kicking autumn leaves in the park.  Yes, a perfect pair of boots is what we all deserve, right?

Well, let me introduce you to my latest sponsors, Seven Boot Lane.  A local West Country family business who make the most stylish boots in the softest of Spanish leather.....
Owner of Seven Boot Lane - Sebastian Edwards
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do? 
After working for 15 years at a major shoe company I began to dream about setting up my own footwear brand. I had worked with some of the best manufacturers in Europe and there was no doubt in my mind that boots would be our specialism. There is something beautiful about a great pair of boots: the shapes, the leathers, the hardware, and I love the way boots seem to hold a superior status in people’s wardrobes. Since then (2 years ago) we have enjoyed a roller coaster of excitement as our young company has gradually become established. 

What is your inspiration behind opening the shop? 
Our business is mainly wholesale and online, but we felt it was really important to have a place where the brand could ‘live’ in a tangible environment: somewhere where the whole collection would be available in all its glory. We chose Bath partly because it has become a major shopping destination – both regionally and internationally – and partly because the city feels like a good fit for our brand. 

How would you describe the feel of your shop? 
The shop is simple and beautiful. It has a clean layout, which is designed to make the most of our boots. We are lucky to have a big space that allows us to display the collection really effectively. We also stock a Danish clothing brand called Second Female, which complements our footwear perfectly and gives the store a really warm feeling. I hope it is a welcoming and relaxing environment: shopping for boots is not something that should be rushed. 

I love your lookbook, could you tell us your inspirations behind the collection? 
This autumn’s collection showcases what’s most important to our brand: effortlessly simple design that is timeless and transcends seasonal fashion; beautiful materials and colours, complemented by individual details that set our boots apart from the rest; the key profiles that our customers are looking for this year – bikers, heeled western boots, Chelsea boots, equestrian styling… I particularly love our rich deep suede colour palette – the charcoal and bordo, and the copper trims we used – which worked really well on our shoot and lend a strong autumnal feel to the collection. 

Your boots are made in Spain, could you tell us a little about your factory there? 
One of the greatest things about starting your own company is that you choose who you work with. And one of the greatest things about our company is our factory. Our partnership with them has only been going for a couple of years but already we are like family to each other. Not only do we share the same values on design and quality, but we also have become close friends and we love working together. Theirs is a small family-run operation, just like ours. All the people who work there are highly skilled craftsmen and women who take great pride in their work. Rightly so, because the end product is stunning. 

What is a typical working day for you? 
There is no such thing! Each day throws something new at us because we are small and growing fast. It can be frustrating because time is hard to manage, but it’s also revitalising to have different challenges all the time. In one day I might well spend a couple of hours planning the next collection, then a couple of hours doing some accounts, and finish up by packing and shipping the day’s orders. Because we have a large wholesale business, and we sell to the trade up to 6 months ahead of the season, we are always managing 3 different seasons at once so there’s never a dull moment! Customers take a lot of looking after too, and we pride ourselves on providing the best service possible: when you run your own business, your customer is your boss. 

What do you love most about what you do? 
Making beautiful boots and seeing people wearing them. 

You regularly donate to two charities, could you tell us a little about this? 
We have a lot of pairs of samples and end of line stock which we are really glad to be able to donate. The two organisations that we work with have managed to establish a premium charity shop model which generates considerable income for the charities. Mary Portas was instrumental in creating the concept of the Save the Children Living and Giving stores – there are 15 of these now and they are as beautifully merchandised as some of the best boutiques you will see. If we donate to these kinds of shops, they are able to command a higher price for the product, so everyone’s a winner. 

If you could see a pair of your boots on a celebrity who would you choose and why? 
Kate Moss, because she has style and coolness that has endured. 

What do you think is going to be a ‘hot’ fashion trend for this season? 
Well you should always dress from the shoes up – obviously – so make sure they are making enough of a statement – chunky is good. Then go for super skinny or boyfriend jeans, and a big shearling coat. These contrasts work well, they are flattering and they lend a touch of attitude. 

Where do you like to shop for clothes and interiors? 
Mimi Noor in Bath is one of our favourite stores. Mimi has an amazing selection of denim as well as some great every day casual wear. We are always sending our customers there for jeans to go with our boots. Interiors are tricky – many of my favourite things have come from Glastonbury Reclamation. 

If you were stranded in the wilds what item would you want with you to survive? 
My family. 

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
I would be very happy to be here, managing a successful shoe brand. Or possibly two! 

Seven Boot Lane's boots are just perfect.  You all want a pair don't you, I can tell! Well Littlegreenshed and Seven Boot Lane have teamed up to giveaway one  pair of boots of your choice to a lucky Littlegreenshed reader!  OMG!  It's true, really!

All you need to do is fill in the little raffle widget below.   Winner will be announced next Friday 7th November. Good luck! 

Meet the Shop - Victoria & Abigail... (plus giveaway!)

I am over the moon to introduce you to my latest Sponsor for October - the delightful shop Victoria & Abigail.  Owned by best friends, Vicky & Abi, the shop is filled to the brim with quirky/cool items.  They certainly have great taste as the products they have personally curated are beautiful.  Here's a little bit more about them...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do? 
We are Vicky and Abi, and we run an online homewares store, Victoria & Abigail, filled with quality handcrafted products from small independent designers.

What is your inspiration behind opening the shop? 
We opened our shop for a number of reasons. Vicky and I had been talking about working together for ages – we just didn’t know what we were going to do! After chatting about it over many happy meals, cups of tea and glasses of wine, we came to realise that we were both tired of going into shops and seeing the same, generic, mass-produced gifts and homewares. We wanted to create a shop that we'd LOVE to shop in. To top it off, we are both passionate about supporting small independent makers; so it was the combination of these three threads that led to the creation of our shop. 

How would you describe the feel of your shop? 
Fresh, bright and a little bit quirky.

Tell us some of your favourite pieces /designers you stock.
It’s really hard to pick, I don’t think we have a favourite designer – but there are a few pieces I’d love to own. The Indigi stools are really unusual and colourful , and the bunny cake-stand from Chandler House is definitely one of my favourites. Vicky is really excited about our newest designer, Ceramic Factory, - mostly because every item in their collection is unique. 

What do you love most about what you do? 
We get to curate every aspect of our shop, so we’re extremely proud of all our designers and being able to share our creative vision with our customers. For us, the best feeling is when a customer is struck by our products, and wants to hear the story behind a piece because it has appealed to them as an individual. 

Please tell us about your current loves... 
  • Photography – We do all the photography for the shop ourselves (you can probably see which products we photographed first, because we have improved vastly since we started!). What we enjoy most is doing styled shoots for our home page, dreaming up new and interesting ways to showcase our products. 
  • Illustration – Anything from Blanka Biernat, who did a sweet, whimsical drawing of Vicky and I for our shop. We also love her family portraits – everything she does is so cute. 
  • Graphic design - When it comes to graphic design, we always think simpler is better; which is what we tried to keep in mind when creating our online shop and blog. 
  • Books – Recently, I’ve only been buying cookbooks. I think I’ve bought 8 in the last couple of months…I have a problem. Vicky is preparing for an Italian adventure later this month and is reading Street Fight in Naples 
  • Blog – I’m obsessed with interiors blogs and read them religiously! Some of my favourites are Style by Emily Henderson, Little Green Notebook and Swoonworthy 
  • Magazine – I mostly stick to online magazine nowadays, one of my favourites is Covet Garden
  • Shop – I am an Anthropologie addict. We love Holly’s House in Fulham, she has some beautiful pieces and of course we love exploring etsy and discovering new shops. 
  • Drink – tea, all day long, and red wine when it’s time to unwind, we both love a glass of Shiraz. 
  • Eat – Vicky is seriously into soups already this autumn and keeps printing out recipes for us to try. 
  • Play – We love entertaining, so if we’re not out and about with friends, you’ll find us hosting BBQs and games nights – depending on the season. We also enjoy a good antiques fair, getting up at before the sun, cup of tea in hand and ready to search for some vintage pieces to upcycle. 
Please describe your own interiors style at home. 
My house is also our office, so at this point my interior style is boxes in every room. Vicky is a little more organised at home; she likes a simple minimalist look with no clutter – quite the opposite of me, really. My style is a bit more eclectic, I love colourful rugs, cushions and mixing vintage pieces with newer items.

What do you think is going to be ‘hot’ for this season? 
Well, usually autumn is all about mustards and deep reds, but I think this year the summer pastels are going to stick around into the colder months.

What is a typical working day for you? 
Every day is different and that is why we love what we do. Mostly, we start by checking our social media and catching up on emails and from there it’s either product photos and descriptions or DIYs for our blog. If we have an event coming up we’ll do mock set-ups in my dining room to make sure our displays are perfect.

If you were stranded in the wilds what item would you want with you to survive? 
Our smartphones, can’t survive without them!

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
Vicky would have liked to escape to the country by that time and I think we would both love to have a brick and mortar shop. Spending another 10 years discovering and working with great makers would be a dream come true, so more of what we’re doing.

Such a lovely interview, and so nice to find out more about you both and the shop.  Vicky and Abi are kindly offering all Littlegreenshed readers a lovely 15% off all products for October!  Using the code: LITTLEGREENSHED15.  Get your Christmas shopping done early!! (sorry I said the C word).

Not only that... but Vicky and Abi are generously giving away a £30 voucher to one lucky Littlegreenshed reader.  All you have to do is complete the little widget below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

03: Inspiration - Nature in the (my) Home - Hannah (Seeds & Stitches) house tour...

Hannah and I have a mutual love of nature, crafting and interiors.  Her blog was one of the very first I followed when I started out four years ago, blogging.  During this time I have seen Hannah's then London flat, grow and transform, the birth of Frankie and then their move to the country.  Her style is natural, colouful, crafted and uniquely Hannah - which I adore!

I am delighted Hannah has given me a little house tour... over to Hannah!

We moved from our little London flat into a 3 story Kentish cottage a little less than a year ago. Our new home coincided perfectly with my newfound plant obsession. All surfaces were viewed through the lens of potential plant worthiness, and instead of unpacking boxes I was furtively buying new plants on the ebay app. “Just checking my emails!” I’d say, as my husband unloaded crates of crockery. And so our home slowly filled with ferns, palms and succulents, placed carefully around the mounds of boxes.

Our move also took us much closer to the beaches and the forests of Kent, so before long, the plants found themselves jostling for space with piles of dried seaweed, stones and shells from the beach and acorns and branches both big and small from the forest.

I am literally always on the hunt for natural treasures. Every time I leave the house I return with a little (or a big) something stashed away in my pockets or basket. Having a toddler gives me more of an excuse to stop and admire the stones or pick wildflowers or weeds. But I’ve always done it.

Soon, and rather unexpectedly, we are leaving our ramshackle Kentish monolith. (Ok, monolith may be a slight exaggeration. It just felt like that when we moved from our little 2 bed flat) so I was prompted recently to take some photos of the beast, in memoriam. And, in exchange for Lou’s lovely words on Seeds and Stitches, here are some words, and a little tour of the nature in my home, for Little Green Shed.

The kitchen has 3 windowsills and 3 big windows, so most of the plants reside there, in varying states of protest over the too high/too low light levels. I am learning more everyday about such things.

Frankie's Room
I am a little obsessed with sticks. We have a huge one above our kitchen table (devilishly hard to photograph) and other branches all over the house. We often paint or wrap wool around them too, like the stick mobile I made for Frankie-Rose’s room.

Beach treasures in the hall
Living by the sea is wonderful for many reasons, not least the treasures she posits on the beach for eager eyed beach combers like Frankie Rose and I. I love the almost architectural form of this dried seaweed, collected from Whitstable beach. We have beautiful gnarled or pockmarked shells with glistening iridescent interiors and sea-smoothed beach stones in little stacks all over the house.

We spend most of our time in the kitchen downstairs, so most of the plants live there too, where we can watch and fret over them, and bicker about who’s over or under watering them. So the lounge harbours our sturdiest plants. An enormous Mother-in-Laws tongue stands sentinel next to the telly, a sturdy 8 pronged cactus guards the sideboard (along with more beach treasures) and a virulent spider plant that I am eagerly awaiting to self-propagate hangs by the sofa in a home made hanging plant holder.

We have a cactus in the bedroom too, again chosen because it requires almost no attention, yet provides its sleeping neighbours with air purification at night.

We change the natural decorations in the house according to the seasons, give or take some time for procrastination and busyness. It’s Summer and I look around me and the house is covered with beach treasures. In Autumn we paint dried leaves and hang them on the wall, and gather acorns in bowls. In Winter we keep evergreen branches in vases on the table and paint sticks to display around the house. In Spring, we dry little wild flowers and make them into a garland, etc etc. 

It’s good, we’ve found, to be grounded in the seasons, to be more aware of what’s happening outdoors, and to be in the fresh air as much as to-do lists allow. Its good for sleep and room to think. Good to leave the laptop and housework behind. Good for tiring hyper toddlers. Good for the soul.

Thank you Hannah!  I wholeheartedly agree, it is good for the Soul.  Having tactile reminders of the seasons passing.  I adore your home, it's sad you are moving, but I look forward to reading your next adventure and how you make the next house a home.

I write a monthly column for Seeds & Stitches on Nature in the Home, you can read my last post here.

02: Inspiration - Nature in the Home - Kirsten Rickert

A while ago I came across Kirsten Rickert's incredible instagram feed, and fell in love. Her beautiful, dreamy, evocative images of her daughters, nature and art are so incredible I just had to share them with you.  I am delighted that Kirsten agreed to a little interview, I know you will love her work just as much as I do...

Please could you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do?

You will find me in the garden, woods, or in a field of wildflowers. I always have busy hands, making, creating and foraging for collected natural treasures. I grew up in an alternate area of subtropical Australia, when I left home I travelled around the world solo for many years. I started university in my mid twenties, studying fine art. I finished my degree at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Then I had babies! We now live just outside of Manhattan where I spend my time homeschooling our two daughters. My role of mother comes first, woven into this role I am a freelance artist, writer and photographer, contributing to magazines internationally. I am also trying to write a book! 

You have a love of nature, that is evident in your photography, can you tell us where this love began?
I was very fortunate to grow up in a part of the world that is like paradise. My mother's family have farms and many hours of my childhood were spent roaming paddocks, playing in the dam and creek, jumping off waterfalls and beach combing. As a child I did not know how lucky I was, I did not know any different. Years of traveling as an adult brought home to me just how fortunate I was to grow up in this area. There are many beautiful places in the world, but I realised that a place where you can grow a massive variety of fruit and vegetables all year round and I place with untreated clean/fresh water, and incredible diversity of plants and animals is really a special place. Over time it sinks in that these are the things that really matter, not just for me, but everyone. The area I grew up in also has a lot of alternate thinkers and environmentalist, so you could say my love of nature was in the air I breathed. My family worked very hard to have the land that they have and I am so very grateful for my childhood spent on it. It was very simple, and basic and humble, and my family were not rich in money, but I look back now and think wow, I was blessed I was to have a connection to this land, the plants and the animals. 

You have traveled the world, where do you consider home?
Home is Australia, this area I talk about above, on far north coast of NSW. One day we will return. My family are waiting for us to hurry up and move back! In my dreams we build a home and settle for good on my Aunt and Uncle's property in the rain forest. In the meanwhile I have easily have made myself at home in other places along the way. 

I love how creative you are, where does your inspiration come from? 
Looking out my window, the environment and my daughters. I really try and be inspired by what is happening right before my eyes. I am also inspired by things I see happening in the environment that I wish were not happening. Like the decline of the honey bees, chemicals being sprayed on crops, monoculture, genetic modified food, poor treatment of animals, excessive consumerism, plastic, and basically the earth's resources being misused...all of these things fuel my passion to create for change. I am conscious to use my creativity in a positive way that adds something to life, but does not cost the earth greatly. We all want beauty in our life, but to me something is only beautiful if it is good from the roots, if it comes from a good place, with good conscious intention/decisions. I was thinking earlier today as I was sorting some shells how much I dislike those white store bought starfish you see in homes. To me, when I see them sitting in windows and on coffee tables, I don't think "What a lovely seaside trinket" I think of those poor starfish being mass harvested from the ocean, killed and then bleached! Three things that are really actually terrible. It makes my wonder why people would want that "energy" in their space. A souvenir like that, to me does not convey a good experience. I am always surprised that people do not use their imaginations to consider how things end up in a store for sale. Anyway...with that said, my goal is to source things and create in a gentle way, as much as possible. 

What is your favorite time of year? 
Well each season appeals to me for one reason or another, I find something to look forward to with each change the weather brings. I love the change of season, I get excited like a child. I grew up with only two seasons, summer and what might be considered Autumn and so this experience of living in the north east of America has been a treat as there are really distinct seasonal changes. It has been a novelty and a great source of inspiration. I suppose if I have to choose, it would be spring, for the flowers and that wonderful feeling of awakening and new life after a long winter, it is such a celebration..ooohhh but I love Christmas time too! 

You involve you daughters in most of your creative projects, do they help you in the making? 
Yes, the girls are always involved one way or another, and I see this deepening as they get older because they seem to be getting more and more involved. Beyond helping me forage and collect and be my models, I ask them to share their creative opinions too. They give me feedback and together we discuss what we think works. I love that we work together. It is one of the great experiences of homeschooling, they are learning and creating right along with me. 

You use a lot of plants & flowers in your art, where do source your supplies? 
Generally I use whatever I can find abundant and free in the environment. Things growing in my garden, or things I see while out walking. I work with found seasonal flora, sticks, rocks, feathers, or any other natural items that I stumble across or that stands out to me. Like for instance the other day our neighbour trimmed his trees and the girls and I collected all of the cuttings and then the next moment I was laying the leaves all over our attic floor...I needed to work with the leaves, they were just sitting there and I was compelled to make them a creative medium so that they were not wasted! If you go for a drive with me in the country side I will pull the car over and stop a zillion times to look at things growing along the side of the roads. My children are very patient! If I am not working with things from nature, I look for recycled materials that are also free and abundant, like cardboard! 

Do you have any tips for my readers on how to display nature in the home? 
Hmmm... I do not know that displaying nature in my home is my strong point. We certainly have a large collection of found things from nature, but I do not think we display things in the best possible way. We have moved a lot the past few years and we often talk about moving back to Australia so I have not invested in household furniture or put much thought into decorating, because our situation is temporary. We have lots of collections in baskets and bottles and things sitting along the fireplace mantle. I think if I knew we were settled then I would apply my creativity to displaying/decorating within our home with more enthusiasm. 

Finally, what is your favorite flower? 
Oh I do not have one favorite! Certain flowers definitely evoke emotion and memories for me, I grew up with subtropical flowers and now live in a very different climate. I would say I have favorite flowers depending on the geography, climate and season. I could not possibly choose just one. All flowers are beautiful in there own way, but it is the combination of scent and the beauty and the nostalgia that pulls the heart strings... from my childhood it would be gardenias, jasmine, frangipani...more recently with the change of geography and climate I have fallen in love with cherry blossoms, roses and iris. Oh I love flowers, there are so many more I want to add to the list! 

Thank you Kirsten!  You are such an inspiration, you have certainly inspired me to get out there, a create works of natural art... I might start with a mandala this weekend.  

I wholeheartedly agree with the starfish thing. I must admit I have one, it was a gift from my grandmother, so although it's a horrible thought what happened to the starfish and the process, I can't bear to part with it because it came from her!  Taking items from nature, should be a free flowing process, never taking much, nor anything living (shellfish etc).  I think that you, Kirsten, do it with such grace, and mindfulness, we should all follow your lead.

01: Inspiration - Nature in the Home - Philippa Stanton aka 5ftinf...

I love Instagram. I am on there all day, checking in on friends, posting images of my life and discovering great talent.  One of which is Brighton based Philippa Stanton.  As soon as I saw her feed I fell in love.  Table top images of flowers, and daily ephemera.  And it seems most IG like it too with over 303,000 followers and counting!  

So, what better person to interview about her still life images and her love of flowers for #natureinthehome?  Over to you Philiippa...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do?
I am Philippa Stanton, and I am an artist... I mostly use synaesthesia to create abstract paintings of the visual textures, colours and shapes I experience when either listening to music, people talking, or simply taste or smell. ( I also paint sea with boats, and snow with huts.) 

When I was younger I used to watch Roy Castle on Record Breakers and think he was amazing because he did so many different things: Amongst other things; tap dancing ( he held a record for the most taps in a minute at one point, I think ), playing the trumpet, singing, acting, presenting...and generally being a nice man. I thought all his talents were amazing and highly enviable... But one day mum said to me: "Roy Castle should have been a big star worldwide, but he's just too good at too many things" I was shocked that being good at lots of things could be a problem!! There was SO much I wanted to do, and which I knew I'd be good at, but my mum saying that about Roy Castle kind of worried me... 

At school I was always torn between art and drama, but I wasn't naturally good at drawing, and acting came very easily. So after 6th form, I briefly decided that I'd combine both art and theatre, and study History of Design, as I knew that the social history behind design would be very useful background for being in plays. I arrived at Manchester Poly and almost instantly knew I had made the wrong decision, even though I loved the subject. So, to cut a long story short, I left early and went on to train at RADA. ...

Another long story later, and also cut short, is that after a lot of theatre work, I had a child, moved to Brighton, had a long period of unemployment, and then an awful divorce... I started to paint was an expression of me without having to talk about anything. I painted what was going on inside my head, and painting therefore anchored a large part of my creative self. 

Subsequently, what has gone on over the last 9 years has been a journey of creativity born out of sheer necessity, and a creative journey that is still evolving and developing... I have realised that creating, making and documenting is just who I am, and where I'm at my best, although I am still in the process of trying to make that all into a more sustainable way of life. Everything I do, be it making lampshades from vintage maps, taking photographs (or even still acting occasionally), has become a way of trying to make a self-employed living from being able to do lots of things. Obviously I'm in no way on Roy Castle's level, (although there's still time for me to catch up!), and there's a trumpet on top of my wardrobe still waiting to be played! 

Where does your love of flowers come from? 
My love of flowers comes from my love of detail, I think. Ever since I can remember, I loved being in the garden looking at every element of a plant. I remember endlessly taking apart the buds of Hebe's, just to find out what was in the centre, and being amazed at the colours and beautiful prettiness in the petals of London Pride, which from a distance looked like nothing much at all, and which had strangely disproportionate leaves. I remember a school project where I had to collect and name wild flowers, which I loved, and one Christmas being given a giant flower press. 

My mum always sent me out to pick a bunch of flowers ( probably just to get me out from under her feet ), but I always loved it and she always told me the names of what I'd picked. I remember picking laburnum once, and being fascinated by the individual yellow flowers which made up the drooping shape, and then being terrified when my mum told me that it was poisonous. I wouldn't walk under the yew tree in case a berry accidentally fell into my mouth... (she'd read out a newspaper article about a child who had been poisoned by yew!).

I think poisonous plants scared me because I was naturally inclined to investigate plants and flowers...picking them apart so that I could see every part of them, and then to think that they could kill me was terrifying to a 7 year old, so I became even more interested in them; looking them up and reading about them, and my Granny had no end of books and also the most amazing garden ever. I would bring things in and she would tell me their names. She would send me out to look for things ( often for her flower arrangements ) and I was very proud once when I brought her in a perfect skeleton holly leaf, as she said that to get one that perfect was rare! I could never get over, and still can't, the incredible amounts of plants that we have around is a constant lesson, and once I learn about a plant it sort of becomes a member of my family! 

So my love for flowers comes from being lucky enough to be surrounded by them as a child, and having my mum and Granny able to tell me lots about them and also share their own love of them. 

Your tabletop images on Instagram have a huge following, could you tell us about your daily vignettes?
They weren't a planned project...they were just borne out of gardening, sitting, drinking tea and wanting to bring some of my garden inside. I've had the Table for years and it's had a few different positions in the room, but where it is now, with the combination of light and texture, it seems to magically capture a quiet moment. The arrangements are a daily meditation: a visual poem or haiku. They make me stop, simplify and really concentrate on the beauty of small things, and this seems to resonate with a lot of people. 

I love how each day the same table has a different view, how do you decide what to photograph?
I'm always led by the light and the flowers themselves. Often I start the day with picking a small bunch of flowers, arranging them and then sitting, having a cup of tea, and just looking. Flowers and plants are such a good focus for an easy, everyday sort of meditation. ( as is washing up too...I don't have a dishwasher! ) Being with flowers; looking at them, and in greater detail than you think you have time for, is the best way I have to give them my respect and admiration, and I think this also may be a reason I seem to be able to capture them in photography. Colour is also important, but I never plan's just how I feel that day, as are the objects on the table which are there as a sort of balance, and usually have some sort of history attached to them.

What is your favourite season? 
My favorite season is probably Spring as it's always such a relief and also always so exciting, but I also like the calm of Winter and the challenge of making dead plants and leaves work on the Table too. 

What tips can you give my readers on floral display, arrangement and photography?
Always spend time looking at the flowers in detail...know and appreciate each stem and never overlook what they want to do. Go with their natural line, even if it's trying to do something you don't want it to. Let go of any big ideas you have for the flowers or the arrangement itself, and see what they want to do. Leaves, buds and seed heads are as important as flowers. 

Always think of how they are in nature, how they have grown, even if they are bought flowers. If you notice something slightly out of place in the photo, around the flowers, which slightly shakes the balance; adjust it. If you think that will do, the photo will never be as satisfying and calming as the arrangement you see in front of you. Still life photography is an art...not just a snapshot, and as such you need to give it time and also combine it with unthinking intuition. 

What is your favourite flower?
A very hard question...but a tulip, in bud, is a thing of amazingly simple beauty. 

Finally, I understand you will be running workshops next year, could you tell us about those?
I'm still forming the workshop idea, but I will be putting together flower arranging and still life workshops along the lines of what I've talked about here. They will be small workshops (a maximum of 10 people) which will encourage people to look for longer before 'doing', take in a whole atmosphere, and also help them look at composition and structure as well as simple mobile phone photography tips. 

Encouraging people to see in a different way; and in their own way, is very important and discovering your own view helps unlock masses of creativity. So hopefully there will be more solid plans coming together during the summer, and people should e-mail me if they want to be put on a list of those who will hear first about them.

Thank you Philippa.  I absolutely adore your work.  Such a brilliant interview too, I'd totally forgotten about the Trumpet playing, world record achieving Roy Castle!  Legend!!

Philippa is kindly giving away two mounted & wrapped prints to two lucky Littlegreenshed readers (the prints are the last two images - Bread & Pond Life).

More of Philippa's work can be found here:

To enter please complete the little rafflecopter thingy below...  Good luck

Edit:  The winners are:

Bethany - Pond Life
Catching Sundust - Bread

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.

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!