Perfume blending with Experimental Perfume Club

With so many perfumes on the market it is often hard to find your perfect scent, so we were super excited to hear about the Experimental Perfume Club, who offer workshops in making your very own blend, bespoke to you. We sent 91 contributor Catherine Frawley along to one of their taster workshops to give it a go....

Founder of Experimental Perfume Club (EPC), Emmanuelle, is welcoming and French, which, when you envisage a Perfumer you have an expectation that they should be French, so luckily Em doesn’t disappoint. After graduating 12 years ago in Paris from ISIPCA, the best perfume school in the world, she worked with perfume factories all over the world creating bespoke scents. For the last year she has been living in London, running the Experimental Perfume Club workshops from her bright, white, and intimate space a short walk from Dalston Junction.

Are you the type of person who has a signature scent? One that you always wear, a scent that you adore, that perhaps evokes strong memories, and that you know suits you? Or perhaps, like me, you are not quite sure what you like or why you like it, then the 1 hour taster course at EPC which I took, is a great starting point.

Under Em’s guidance you are encouraged to use your instincts when smelling nine blends - talk about what you can detect, how does it make you feel, what words would you use to describe what you are experiencing. Is it fresh, fruity, woody, sweet or herbaceous? Does it transport you to a gentleman’s club or an earthy potting shed? Does it remind you of Christmas time, a classic old car, your childhood, your grandma? Is it soapy, spicy, citrusy or sharp?

We rated each scent from 1 (dislike) to 9 (love) before talking about the structure of creating a perfume. Top notes like citrus, are the gateway, i.e. your nose’s pathway into the scent, this makes up 30% of your perfume recipe and last ten minutes or so on the skin. The heart, makes up 40% - these are your floral, spicy and fruity notes - and last 2-3 hours on the skin. Finally, you are left with 30% of base notes - those woody and oriental scents - these, in a good quality perfume can last post shower.

Working instinctively the alchemy begins making your unique scent, discussing with Em and tweaking the 30/40/30 recipe to your own preferences.

The class was very fun, giggly and collaborative with everyone checking each other's creations, using our new perfume vocabulary and offering advice when someone in particular (that would be me) had gone too fruity. Once the blends were perfect and had the nod from Em, we had the particularly tricky task of naming and labelling our scents. They ranged from Black Tomato, Woodland Arches and Orchard - but then we all translated them to French because, let’s face it, EVERYTHING sounds better in French!

The time passes quickly as we pack up our signature scents, along with a mini meringue or two and say a very reluctant ‘au revoir’ to our incredible teacher.

The taster course costs £125 and includes your 50ml perfume creation. Emmanuelle also offers longer, more in depth courses. If you are looking for an extra special Mothers Day gift, they have a workshop on the 26th March you can take your mum along to together! Find all the details on the website: www.experimentalperfumeclub.com


Words & Images by Catherine Frawley

WIN £150 to spend with We Are Knitters

As well as a shared love for interiors and creative living, it turns out that nearly all of the 91 Magazine team have a passion for all things yarn. Our sub editor Kath is a whizz with both knitting needles and a crochet hook, designing patterns as part of her work, while Lucy, our designer, is a general craft genius, but in particular hosts weaving workshops around the country. Myself and deputy editor Laura both enjoy a knitting project to unwind away from the computer screen. 

It's true that knitting is a skill that you need to acquire, but it's not a difficult one, and with the abundance of online tutorials these days it's even easier to learn the basics in an evening. If you are unsure of what to make, or what type of wool and needles you'd need, then We Are Knitters are the perfect place to discover some gorgeous projects both to wear and to accessorise your home with. Their kits range from beginner level to advanced and come with everything you need to get knitting straight away. 

As design lovers here at 91, we are naturally drawn to their super stylish branding (very Instagram-able!), the lovely wooden needles and the beautiful yarn colours available. I am currently making the Dudo scarf which uses The Meri Wool in salmon pink - the perfect accessory for a nippy spring day I think. 

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Whether you're a seasoned knitter or a complete novice, we think you'll be excited to hear that we have teamed up with We Are Knitters to offer one 91 Magazine blog reader the chance to win £150 to spend on their website! That should get you 2-3 of their kits to try out, or if you are an advanced knitter you could stock up your yarn supplies very well indeed! We are loving the 'sprinkle' version of the Meri Wool above. They also offer crochet and macramé kits too, so you could try out a few different crafts if 2017 really is your year of learning new things!

The giveaway is open to UK based readers only, and the closing date is 10th March 2017. A winner will be selected at random and We Are Knitters will contact you directly if you are the lucky one. Do pop over to the We Are Knitters website to have a browse at what you might be able to bag yourself!

Simply CLICK HERE to enter.  

Right, I'm off to snuggle up and carry on with that scarf! Good Luck readers! x

This post has been sponsored by We are Knitters. All images and opinions are those of Caroline Rowland, editor of 91 Magazine. 

From the cutting room floor - A/W 16 issue

We really did have some stunning photoshoots for our A/W 16 issue, so today I wanted to share a few of the fabulous images that we wish we could have fitted in the magazine, but we literally just didn't have the space for. If you haven't got your hands on a copy of this issue yet, then do pop over and order yours, we are down to the last couple of boxes now, so they won't be around for long! 

Photo: Jemma Watts

Photo: Jemma Watts

Photo: Jemma Watts 

Photo: Jemma Watts 

Kelly Love's home was our cover star, and the space is a true beauty. Our photographer Jemma captured it beautifully, I find myself constantly going back to pore over this one! 

Photo: Kasia Fiszer

Photo: Kasia Fiszer

We love a good shelfie here at 91, especially if it is as beautiful as this one! Our Studio Tour feature visited the ceramics workshop of Katie Robbins, full of her stunning work and the natural elements that inspire it. 

Photo: Emma Harrel / Styling: Charlotte Page

Photo: Emma Harrel / Styling: Charlotte Page

Photo: Emma Harrel / Styling: Charlotte Page

Photo: Emma Harrel / Styling: Charlotte Page

Our Cook & Craft feature was inspired by one of our favourite tipples - tea. Seriously delicious cocktails and cakes, that also happen to be very pretty! 

Photo: Holly Marder

Photo: Holly Marder

Photo: Holly Marder

Photo: Holly Marder

Photo: Holly Marder

Photo: Holly Marder

Another swoon-worthy home was that of Ruth van de Louw. Shot by Holly Marder, it is full of pattern, colour and fun - a great family space. 

Photo: Richard Clatworthy / Styling: Laura Sawyer 

Photo: Richard Clatworthy / Styling: Laura Sawyer 

Our inspiration feature focussed on the trend for childlike design and interiors. I just love this little collection of cuteness and colour, with lots of our fave indie makers and sellers popping up in there too.

Photo: Emma Harris

Photo: Emma Harris

Photo: Heather Young

Photo: Heather Young

Photo: Teri Muncey

Photo: Teri Muncey

Last but definitely not least, are the images captured by Emma Harris, Heather Young and Teri Muncey. These were part of the collaborative feature we did with West Elm, and again, with only one spread per stylist we were limited with how many images we could use. Aren't they dreamy?! 

I hope you've enjoyed this little extension of the A/W issue, and as I said, if you haven't got your copy yet, you best get your skates on! Order yours here. 

Meet the Maker: Flora Jamieson

This month we talk lead lines, flashbacks and catching the light with stained glass designer-maker, Flora Jamieson 

A couple of weeks into an adult education evening course in stained glass design, Flora Jamieson had a flashback... ‘I suddenly had this clear memory of a school trip I’d been on many years before to Salisbury Cathedral. I’d snuck off mid-tour of the church, and found myself in the cloisters, where they were running a huge stained glass restoration project. I was totally captivated by these delicate, stunning pieces of glass and remember thinking how amazing you could have a job working with such beautiful materials.’

Back at school, the trip was soon forgotten, ‘but a seed must have been planted deep in my brain,’ Flora recalls, ‘because, in the middle of the evening class, the memory of that trip, and my excitement at seeing the stained glass work came flooding back. It was something of a turning point for me, a long dormant idea came back to life, and I thought maybe this is something I can do – maybe I can learn to do a traditional skill and never have to do a boring office job again.’

She wasn’t a huge fan of office life then? ‘Not really,’ she laughs, ‘I knew I had to do something with my hands, to create something or I was going to go a bit crazy. But until that point, I hadn’t been sure what that ‘thing’ would be.’

Collaboration with artist Vicki Turner

Collaboration with artist Vicki Turner

The evening class gave way to a more advanced course at Kensington and Chelsea College, which she balanced alongside her work as a studio administrator –  first at Madame Tussaud’s and then in a photography studio. ‘They were both great environments to work in,’ she says, ‘I was surrounded by brilliant, creative people, but had been feeling frustrated that I wasn’t creating anything for myself. I’d studied art at school, but didn’t feel I was good enough so didn’t pursue it once I’d left school. Instead, I opted to do a degree in Media Studies, but it soon became clear that although it was a good course, it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go in.’

The Kensington course completed, Flora approached thirty stained glass workshops looking for a work placement. One, in Wandsworth, replied, ‘they came back to me and said they’d take me on as their ‘Saturday person’ – and that’s how it started. Over time I increased my days in the workshop, and dropped down days in the office until I was working in the stained glass workshop full time. I stayed there for three years, and learnt so much during that time from a group of really talented craftspeople.’

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Pregnant with her first child, Flora and her husband left London for Bridport, in Dorset. The move influenced her work on both a creative and practical level. ‘Living in Dorset has cemented my love of the natural world. I love trying to capture the beauty of nature in my work. More practically, I had to change how I worked. The sheer volume of domestic stained glass in London meant that there was always work to be found. There just isn’t that level of domestic glass in Dorset,’ she explains, ‘so I had to start creating my own work.’ 

Flora began focusing on making smaller pieces and building up an online presence. ‘I was pregnant with my second child just as things like Instagram and Etsy were really starting to gain ground. I realised there was a market for smaller, more contemporary pieces and so I started an IG account, blog and Etsy shop. Apart from keeping my skills going, it was also a great way to learn about the social media side of things – and how to market my work.’

Flora’s own contemporary designs use bold, jewel colours and have an almost graphic feel. Where does she get her inspiration from? ‘I think smaller pieces of stained glass work, lend themselves well to the sort of strong, 60s and 70s aesthetic. I’m influenced by the work of Marimekko, Paul Rand, Dick Bruna – I love the confidence and simplicity of their designs. I’m also influenced by the medium itself. The nature of working with glass is there are limitations to what you can do, and I enjoy trying to find a way of creating my vision within those limitations – the problem solving is quite an inspiration!’

With both daughters in school, and more time to work, Flora has found her business growing quickly over the last couple of years. ‘I hesitate to call it a business, as I never set out to be a business person, but I’m definitely getting busier, and I’m really enjoying how the business is growing organically, and around my children, really. It’s gently expanding to fill my time – which is good.'

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Flora works during school hours, from her home workshop. ‘I’m very lucky – I have two outbuildings. One I use as a designing and making room, then a second smaller space is my painting and firing room. It’s useful to keep them separate, so I can keep the paint as dust free as possible.’

The final part of the process – cementing – gets done in the bike shed. ‘It’s really messy, so I’m afraid the bikes suffer at times!’

Flora’s workload is a pretty even split of her own design work and client commissions, and she takes a collaborative approach to the commissioning process. ‘After an initial discussion about the sort of design the client is looking for, I’ll create a Pinterest board which we can both add to and edit – a sort of online mood board, and I’ll use that to work up a design concept. Once the client is happy with the design, I create a full size plan and send it, along with glass samples, to the client. Stained glass can dominate a room, so it’s really important that the client can see the design and glass in situ, so we can be sure it will work in the space and won’t clash or overwhelm other features in the room.’

The approved design is initially created in pencil and then overlaid with a cut line – a 1.5m thick black ink line, this indicates where the central line of the lead will lie.  Next, Flora will cut the glass and then add any decorative painting required for the design, firing each piece in the kiln to fuse the paint to the glass. It can take several firings to get the right levels of shading and detail.

The pattern is then created by alternating glass and lead until all the pieces are laid. ‘Basically it’s like creating a giant, complex jigsaw puzzle,’ Flora says, ‘once the pieces are all laid, I’ll solder the lead and then the final part of the process is cementing, using a runny putty which is brushed into all the gaps to strengthen and waterproof the piece.’

As you might expect from a traditional craft, Flora is also kept busy with restoration work, mainly of Victorian and Edwardian domestic and church stained glass.  Is there an interplay between her restoration work and design work, between new and old? ‘I really enjoy the balance between restoration and contemporary work.’ Flora says, ‘Seeing the craftsmanship of Victorian stained glass makers close up, is wonderful. It really inspires me to apply the same discipline to my own, modern work.

‘I’ll often be working on contemporary and restoration pieces at the same time and I love the look of my kiln shelf when it’s a mix of my work, and work which was created over a hundred years ago. Last week I had a shelf full of my contemporary bird designs, and a set of Victorian birds – an aviary from across the ages, it was wonderful.’

Commissions aside, Flora is currently working on some pieces for sale as part of the Makers 4 Refugees project and is hoping to create some more pieces as part of a collaboration with  artist and designer Vicki Turner. ‘We created some pieces together last year, and I loved working with Vicki, so I’m keen to do more when we both have time.’

With multiple pieces and projects on the go at one time, does Flora find it difficult to focus on one thing? ‘I have been known to procrastinate at the design stage, definitely,’ Flora laughs, ‘but once I’m in the workshop I’m totally in the flow. Getting my hands on the work in the studio is what it’s all about for me. I just can’t wait to hold the finished piece, and see how it catches the light. It’s always a magical moment.’

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe your work in three words: 

Playful, narrative, idiosyncratic 

What are your making rituals? 

After I've got my daughters off to school, I'll often go for a run (and sometimes a swim in the sea if I have time).  Then I'll get in to the workshop, tidy up a bit, find a good podcast to listen to and then get down to it.  But if I'm really busy as it has been lately, then it's just: music on loud and get to work.

Tea or coffee?

I just got an Aeropress for Christmas and it makes the nicest coffee.

Mountains or sea? 

I think probably sea, but if the mountain in question had a waterfall tumbling into a crystal clear pool then it'd be a hard call.

Night owl or early bird?  

Definitely night owl.  I'm terrible at putting myself to bed.

I wish someone had told me...

To take up running sooner.  I started when I was 39 and it seems such a waste when I think of all those years I could have been enjoying it.

www.florajamieson.co.uk

 

91 is reading.... Studio

If you are a creative person, then the chances are you have a creative space of some shape or form. Whether it's a corner of your spare room, a garden retreat, or a huge loft room studio, it's your space; a space to make, write, paint, design and it's likely you have expressed your creativity in the decor of the area you work in. A brand new book by Sally Coulthard delves in to the creative spaces of a wide range of makers, designers and crafters. Studio gives us a peek into their working lives and how they have chosen to build their surroundings in order to offer practicality as well as daily inspiration.

Photo: Caroline Rowland

Photo: Caroline Rowland

I was lucky enough to be part of the team that helped put this book together. I worked alongside Sally to source the imagery for the book, and it was a joy to research and collate a beautiful collection of studio spaces from creative people whose work I admire or have discovered through the project. We, of course, love a studio tour here at 91, so it was a bit of a dream freelance job to work on alongside my work on the magazine! 

Nathalie Lete's studio - Photo: Joanna Maclennan

Nathalie Lete's studio - Photo: Joanna Maclennan

Catherine Derksema's studio - Photo: Rachel Kara

Catherine Derksema's studio - Photo: Rachel Kara

The first part of the book categorises different looks - bright, mono, natural, industrial and collected. Each section features case studies which have perfected these styles, such as Claire Basler's stunning painting studio in a French chateau, where she has brought the outdoors in to inspire her nature focussed work. Designer Natahalie Lete's studio (above top), featured in the 'collected' section, is a treasure trove of quirkiness, and is completely idiosyncratic of her fairytale inspired work. I loved exploring Australian textile designer Cath Derksema's industrial space (above) - her colourful work brings a happy, playful vibe to the warehouse's raw materials and large expanse. Each section also includes a 'Get the Look' spread, with some ideas for creating a similar space yourself. 

Lise Meunier's studio - Photo: Joanna Maclennan

Lise Meunier's studio - Photo: Joanna Maclennan

The book goes on to look at the various types of work that takes place in these creative studios - from ceramics and woodwork to fine art and illustration to blogging and photography. Sally talks a little bit about the considerations of each type of working environment before highlighting a collection of real studios spaces. She has gathered together some really notable creative people, from artist Lisa Congdon, to woodworker Ariele Alasko to ceramist Lise Meunier (above).

Lisa Congdon's studio - Photo: Janis Nicolay

Lisa Congdon's studio - Photo: Janis Nicolay

Sally Taylor's studio - Photo: Victoria Harley

Sally Taylor's studio - Photo: Victoria Harley

What is particuarly lovely about this book is the vast variation on types of studios featured. While I seem to have selected images which are all quite feminine and colourful here (!), the book does not ignore darker colour palettes, masculine spaces, and those that are less about style and more about the creative process. While you will find it in the Interiors section of your book shop, and it is indeed filled with images of interiors, I find it is much more than just an interiors book. It is about the people that inhabit these spaces, their creativity and the work that is produced within their walls. 

STUDIO: Creative Spaces for Creative People by Sally Coulthard is published by Jacqui Small LLP and is available for pre-order. Release date: 16th March 2017. 

Make: Valentine's Wreath

Whatever your thoughts on Valentines Day, here at 91 we've got something for everyone. Last week we shared a tutorial to make these earthy homemade candles, a heartfelt gift made by your own fair hands. Today it is time for a little bit of kitsch, a burst of colour and a chance to let the world know you're in love! 91 stylist Laura Sawyer shows us how to make a fun Valentines wreath...

Photo: Richard Clatworthy Props:  French Love Poems: £9.99 / True Love Valentine’s Card (in Gold Glitter): £4.50 / Ville Fleur Cup & Saucer: £14 Stockist: www.anthropologie.com

Photo: Richard Clatworthy

Props:  French Love Poems: £9.99 / True Love Valentine’s Card (in Gold Glitter): £4.50 / Ville Fleur Cup & Saucer: £14 Stockist: www.anthropologie.com

With Christmas now a distant memory, it's been a while since our doors have been adorned. They're probably feeling in need of some new season accessories just as much as we are. 

A Valentine's Day wreath hanging on the door will let Cupid know you're looking for love or thank Eros for bringing you your Valentine. 

I personally have rather fallen for this super kitsch decoration and have chosen to hang it inside my house with some Valentine's Day accessories. 

What you'll need: 

  • Artificial flowers
  • Scissors
  • Wire coat hanger
  • Wire 
  • Tape
  • Optional additions: Pink paint / Paint brush /Paper flowers / Anthropologie Valentine's Kit / Cherub decorations / Birds / Rosette / Ribbon / Valentine's messages

How to make: 

1. Prepare all the materials you wish to add. I found some little cherubs on eBay so painted them pink. The rosette was a jumble sale find - I replaced the centre with a Valentines message. I cut the flower stems shorter also. 

2. Bend your coat hanger into a heart shape by pulling the bottom down from the middle to create the point and pushing the hanger part down towards the point. Then alter to make a neat shape. 

3. With your first flower, wrap the wire stem around the coat hanger. Do the same with the next flower, keeping it close to the first.  

4. Continue this around the hanger keeping the flowers tight to each other and varying the direction the flowers are pointing. 

5. Once you have a full wreath of roses it's time to start adding your accessories. This is the fun bit - the more the better I say! I made the arrow with a cute kit from Anthropologie, then I added birds, cherubs, paper flowers, stickers, ribbon, a rosette and a LOVE note. Use wire and/or tape to secure these to your wreath. 

Photo: Richard Clatworthy

Photo: Richard Clatworthy

6. Once you've added all of your adornments your wreath is ready to hang by it's own built in hanger!

Happy Valentines Day readers! We love you all! xxx

Images by Richard Clatworthy and Laura Sawyer

Homeware with Heart: Makers 4 Refugees

Today sees the launch of Makers 4 Refugees, a wonderful project bringing together a global collective of makers creating work to raise money for refugee charity Help Refugees. Makers 4 Refugees founder Pip Wilcox, tells us about the project - and how we can all contribute...

How did the project come about Pip? 

I should begin by warning you that 2017 might be a tricky year for your bank balance. But for all the right reasons! Let me explain…

During a weekend in late December, an idea which had been percolating in my mind for weeks, finally took shape. I drew up a list of over 50 makers - makers whose work I admire, and I floated an idea to the group - we would each create work, the proceeds of the sales of which would go to the charity Help Refugees. The response was immediate and generous. Within days, I had a list of incredible artists and craftspeople in the UK, Europe, the US and Australia, all of whom wanted to take part. By the end of the week Makers 4 Refugees was born.

Credit: Sophie Heron

Credit: Sophie Heron

Credit: Julia Hodgson

Credit: Julia Hodgson

Tell us more...

Makers 4 Refugees is a simple project founded on a desire to make a difference through making. 2016 was a year in which the world witnessed more than its fair share of horror. There were days when I felt powerless and ineffectual, and profoundly aware of my privilege. During these times, making can seem like an insignificant and trivial activity, but it's what we makers can do. This project is a way for over 40 makers from around the globe to come together and give our making extra meaning and purpose, by raising funds to support some of those people currently living through such desperate times.

Credit: Luke Eastop

Credit: Luke Eastop

How does Makers 4 Refugees work?

Each of the makers involved has been invited to select a week from the 2017 calendar. During their week, each maker is releasing a piece or collection of work which they will be auctioning or selling, and the entire sales proceeds (less shipping and processing fees) will be donated to Help Refugees through the Makers 4 Refugees fundraising page.

To find out who is selling what, where and when, follow @makers4refugees on Instagram, that's where I'll be sharing images and details of the beautiful work up for grabs, as well as updating my own website during the year. If you’d like to check our fundraising progress at any point, the Makers 4 Refugees fundraising page will show a running total throughout the year.

Which makers are involved?

The stellar line-up of makers who have come together from around the world is extraordinary – and some of them rarely release their work directly to the public which adds to the thrill of having them on board! From the UK we have people like Luke Eastop, Sarah JerathTom Kemp, Juliet Macleod and Jono Smart (all ceramics, of course!); Julia Hodgson (textiles), Jo McAllister (jewellery), Luke Hope and Sophie Heron (woodenwares) and Flora Jamieson (contemporary stained glass). I couldn’t be happier to tell you that from Europe, the US and Australia are some of my all-time favourite pottery crushes including Jessica Coates, Diana Fayt, Nicolette Johnson and Maryam Riazi. It really is going to be the most delightful artisan feast! 

You can find the full (and amazing!) line-up on my website.

Credit: Maryam Riazi

Credit: Maryam Riazi

Credit: Pip Wilcox

Credit: Pip Wilcox

Is there anything else happening to raise money? 

Thanks to the enthusiasm of the making community, this fundraising project has started expanding in recent weeks to include several workshops run by skilled makers. We're currently finalising workshops on weaving, street photography, indoor photography and ceramics, with other exciting events in the pipeline. Details of each of these will be added to my website and posted on Instagram as and when they are confirmed.

When does it all kick off? 

Makers 4 Refugees starts today. I’m auctioning a collection of my work on Instagram - and I’m both excited and nervous about this! I’ve set myself a goal of raising £500 before passing the fundraising baton on to Lesley Bramwell of Essence + Alchemy (maker of gorgeous small batch botanical scented goods - and recently featured on the 91 blog) who is selling a special collection of beautiful candles during the following week.

It’s an extraordinary act of generosity from each of the makers who have said yes to my Makers 4 Refugees invitation. I know that this generosity will be more than matched by the people who will support this endeavour by buying and bidding on the work that’s donated. Without them we’ll fall at the first hurdle!

Credit: Pip Wilcox

Credit: Pip Wilcox

So, please do follow the project on Instagram, and take the opportunity to buy beautiful work, from an incredibly talented, and generous collective of makers.

Thank you Pip for sharing this inspiring project, we are so excited to follow along, and know our wallets will definitely be lighter over the coming months! :) 

Follow Makers 4 Refugees on: 

Instagram

 Facebook

and via Pip’s website

Make: DIY Valentines candles

A handmade gift always feels so much more heartfelt doesn't it?! Today Kitty and Nathan Kleyn show us how to make homemade candles, perfect for your loved ones at this time of year, or whenever you feel the need to let them know they are special to you. 

St Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and the shops are spilling out with their heart-shaped chocolates and flowers for “that someone special.” However, we see the day as another chance to share it with all the special someones in our lives, because to us, it isn’t about buying one another a box of chocolates to prove, “I love you.” It’s about sharing the love and taking the opportunity to tell those who are dear to us just how much they matter. So today we’re sharing a really easy DIY to make some candles which we’ll be giving to those who light up our life when Valentine’s Day rolls around.

You will need:

  • Soy wax flakes
  • Pre-waxed candle wicks

  • Containers for your candles (these can be anything from old jam jars to teacups!)

  • Essential oils to fragrance your candle

  • A heat-proof bowl

  • Ice-lolly sticks or a pencil

  • Scissors

How to: 

1. Make sure that any dirt or dust has been cleaned out of your chosen containers. We’re using old flower pots so have had to scrub extra hard to get the last remnants of soil out!

2. Measure your required wick length. We recommend you leave about 3-4 inches (7cm) extra at this stage. You will need to secure this to the bottom of your container either with super glue, a hot glue gun or by using a dab of your melted wax in the next step.

3. Fill your containers with the wax flakes to measure how much you will need. Then boil a pan of water and place the wax flakes into a heat-resistant bowl to sit on top of the pan. This will gently melt your flakes into liquid wax.

4. Once your wax has fully melted, take it off the pan and leave it to sit for 10 minutes so it cools down slightly. Then mix in a few drops of your essential oils (we picked ylang-ylang and rosewood to mix together for our candles). Add more drops for a stronger scent if you fancy. It is very important you do not do this whilst you are melting your wax as the essential oil will just burn off and not infuse your wax with a scent.

5. Make sure your oil is completely mixed in and then carefully pour your wax into your containers. Your heatproof bowl may still be hot, so you may need a tea towel or oven gloves.

6. Whilst your wax cools and solidifies, you will need to secure your wicks in place. We used ice-lolly sticks but you can also tie them around a pencil, pen or skewer.

7. Once they have cooled, you may find you want to top them up slightly so just repeat the last few steps with a smaller quantity of wax. Otherwise, it’s now time to snip the wicks - leave about 2cm for them to start burning with.

Now simply light and enjoy! They are a lovely gift to yourself too so why not make a batch and keep some for yourself? When giving to a loved one, make sure to present your candle beautifully - perhaps wrap in brown paper, add some raffia and a sprig of greenery.

Thank you for this straightforward DIY Kitty and Nathan! We're off to gather containers and get wax melting! Check out Kitty and Nathan's photographic diary, Searching for Tomorrow - we love this post about befriending deer

Shopkeeper Spotlight: MoonKo

In this month's Shopkeeper Spotlight, we chat to Debbie Moon, of Sheffield-based design store, MoonKo

How would you describe the essence of MoonKo?

A very friendly place, with a real sense of community. A space that has beautiful handmade items, which include some that have been made by me, plus lots of natural wood, greenery and houseplants, which I adore.  I love supporting makers in all stages of their careers (which is very much a part of MoonKo’s essence), as well as being ethical, kind to the environment and natural as possible. Quality and craftsmanship are incredibly important. 

Can you tell us a bit more about how MoonKo came about?

MoonKo came about after I had my little one (who is not so little now!)

I really wanted to be a stay at home mum and spend as much time as possible with them, so I gave up a wonderful job in art lecturing, to be at home. Once my maternity leave ended I found myself at the Job Centre. Signing on was a really difficult experience, and I knew I needed to be proactive and create something for myself. I started by teaching myself the basics, like how to build a website and took my little one along to all my meetings. It was really tough, but I was determined to make it work. 

A retail space came up on Division Street in Sheffield and I knew, despite having no background in retail, that I just had to go for it. The shop needed so much work and we pulled a lot of all-nighters renovating it. We opened our doors in October 2013. We had very little in the way of stock to start with, but it felt like an achievement just to be open. MoonKo has evolved since then, there are always things to do, and different approaches to develop. That’s why I love my job so much - it gives me freedom.

The MoonKo shop is just one element of your work – you’re also a maker, run a design studio, interior design service and creative workshops. How do they influence one another, and how do you manage it all?

I am not going to lie, sometimes I have no idea how I manage it all! I just love what I do, it drives me and gets me up in the morning even when work is stressful. I have lots of amazing people around me; my other half helps me so much. I have fantastic staff and such loyal customers.  Running a shop and having a design studio means that I am in a unique position in understanding the customer and what sells. They all influence each other.

I love making, it's in my blood – I don’t think I could stop even if I tried. I adore running creative workshops and working with people to develop their skills and passion. It’s wonderful when you see customers who have been on workshops, set up their own brands, believing in themselves to make, and take control of their own destinies.

IMG Air Plant on Ladder.jpg

Your stock everything from homeware and clothing to stationery and jewellery, as well as a kids collection – how do you manage to create a balance between them all? Do you find one collection ‘winning’ over the others?

I don't really have a formula; I like what I like! Sometimes I get it wrong and sometimes I’m surprised by what does well and what doesn’t. Trends are important to gain inspiration, but you also need to trust your own instincts as well. Trends come and go, but quality, handmade and environmental elements are key to our ethos as a brand. 

You’re very supportive of UK-based creatives, and handmade goods – was that ethos always there at the beginning, or did it evolve as you started to think about opening a shop?

In the UK there are so many creative makers. Sheffield is a real creative hub and often gets overlooked as it's in the north (although this is changing a bit now). I love working with folks who are passionate about their craft, turning organic, natural materials into things of beauty. It’s at the heart of what MoonKo is about, really.  

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How do you compete with high street chains and online stores?

That’s a tough question! I can’t give away all my secrets…  The high street has gone through many changes in recent years and it's becoming harder and harder to survive as a bricks and mortar shop. The chain stores have suffered losses and and tough times too. I think that an indie shop’s secret weapon is it’s individuality and flexibility; running workshops, for example (something the chain stores have started to introduce). Basically, I think an indie’s strength lies in it’s story, community and the sheer determination of the shop-owner.  

You’re based in Sheffield, how has the city changed since you opened MoonKo, and how does it influence your work?

Sheffield is such a vibrant and beautiful city with truly wonderful, humble and hard working people. I am not from Sheffield; I’m a Sussex girl and feel so lucky to have been adopted by such a wonderful place. Sheffield has such a strong manufacturing and creative history, the influence of which you can still feel today – I feel like I’m spoilt for choice! I try and stock as many Sheffield makers as I can, which in turn means they re-invest in the city.

Any top tips for a day out in Sheffield?

Apart from visiting MoonKo?! Once you’ve done that you should have a stroll through the gorgeous Botanical Gardens, and grab a coffee in one of the wonderful (and plentiful) coffee shops. Kelham Island is definitely worth a visit; it's such a unique area, with the industrial and creative working side by side. Then there’s the Peak District, right on the doorstep, the wide-open spaces that are full of history, stories and adventures ready to be found. You won't be disappointed.

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What are your current bestsellers?

All things botanical: green and growing - we have lots to choose from. 

What’s next on the horizon for MoonKo?

To keep developing all our own MoonKo products, wholesaling and exporting.  Collaborations and many more workshops. The possibilities are endless, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to focus first.

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What are the best and most challenging elements of running an independent shop?

The best: meeting people, hearing their stories, and I love being on the shop floor.  Developing relations with makers, coffee and cake meetings are also great! In terms of challenges….running a shop can be extremely stressful and you have pressures from all directions. Sometimes you have to dig deep and just keep going.

Finally, any advice for aspiring indie shop-owners...? 

I think life is about living, making mistakes, finding new opportunities, starting again, letting go and just having fun. So - just go for it!

 

Images: Helena Marie

MoonKo, 89 Divison Street, Sheffield, SG1 4GE

 

91 is pinning... books

Image pinned from Design Sponge

Image pinned from Design Sponge

Here at 91 we're self-confessed bookworms. On these dark winter days we just love curling up with a good book. Of course we're also very partial to a lovely interior, so rooms that feature plenty of books are particularly dreamy, in our opinion. Here are some of our current crushes.

Pinned from Stitch Design Co.

Pinned from Stitch Design Co.

Pinned from Telegraph

Pinned from Telegraph

Pinned from Pretty Things and Co.
Pinned from Blood & Champagne

Pinned from Blood & Champagne

You can find more bookish inspiration on our Books & Magazines Pinterest Board. Speaking of magazines, have you got your copy of our Autumn/ Winter edition? They're almost sold out now, so don't delay. You can buy one here.

Seeking success

Today we have an inspiring guest post compiled by new contributor and photographer Maria Bell. Maria delves into the creative lives of six women, currently running their own businesses, to discover how they define 'success'. Over to you Maria...

There are endless things that motivate us creatives to do what we do but (consciously or not), the desire to ‘be successful’ is one that we undeniably all share.

Yet how much does that desire help to push us to be the best that we can be, and how much does it contribute to feelings of overwhelming pressure and late night spirals of self doubt? When there are so many different career options and ways to get there, what does ‘being successful’ even mean nowadays?

We spoke to six of the most inspiring creatives, small business owners and entrepreneurs to ask them what it means to them to ‘be successful’, how they got to where they are now and a little bit of advice for us to put success into a positive perspective.

…And make you realise we’re all in it together. 

Nik Southern, Florist - Grace and Thorn

What does ‘being successful’ mean to you?

Firstly, happiness in what I am doing. I was considered hugely successful in recruitment for 13 years but didn't feel it. Now that I have found what I love to do and am my own boss, I feel far more content and for me, feeling content and happy is what brings personal success.

How did you get to where you are now and how did you stay motivated?

Through a lot hard work, grit and determination. I want my business to excel in everything we do, to offer something innovative, new and fresh; I am a perfectionist, a control freak and I don't settle for mediocrity. But being a boss is hard, no matter how bad you are feeling or what you have going on, you have to put on your best game face and get on with it and be a good, strong, consistent and emphatic leader. So I make sure I have one day a weekend where I totally relax, walk the dogs and cook, catching up with some life admin which has gone out of the window since I started.

What advice would you give to others?

If you believe in yourself enough and work hard enough, you can do anything you want to. Be nice to people and passionate about what you do and never do things by half!

www.graceandthorn.com

Photo Credit: Tom Doran

Photo Credit: Tom Doran

Sophie Sellu, Designer, Maker, Wood Carver - Grain and Knot

What does ‘being successful’ mean to you?

 I really don’t think that you can measure success, it’s completely subjective but to me, being successful is giving myself the ability to work when I want and make items that are loved by many people. It isn't a measure of how much money that I make, but how many people I can meet and connect with along my journey. I also think that with the age of social media it’s so difficult to judge success. You can see every aspect of everyone’s curated life, the majority of which may not be true…

How did you get there & what were you motivated by?

I was motivated by the need to do something with my hands, to work for myself, to get out of the cycle of routine and I wanted to take creative control. Once I stopped worrying about financial security, I was able to work towards that without it being top of the list, but I have doubts every day. About my work life, creativity, social life. It’s one of those things that I can't get away from! I find that writing lists of my achievements is a way to keep on track and realise how far I have come.

 What advice would you give to others?

Give yourself a timeframe, and work out how much money is needed to give your venture a try.  If after that time you have not managed to get your feet on the ladder, or have spent too much money either move on or change aspects of it to make it work. Try and take time to switch off and don't let your venture take over your life! It’s so tricky to walk away and take time for yourself when you are trying to make something work, but it’s really important to enjoy the little things.

www.grainandknot.com

Victoria Harrison, Shop Owner - Toro Studio

What does ‘being successful’ mean to you?

Success isn't really a word that I feel very motivated by. I view this whole thing as a journey, I try to work my hardest, try to have fun and am continually overwhelmed by the support I receive along the way. I feel like success is so often measured by how much money we make and the pressure to make more, to be able to afford the unaffordable lifestyle, rather than make the most of the successes that come in forms and guises other than money.

How did you get to where you are now and what motivated you to get there?

I had no idea what I wanted to do for years and years, working in many different industries and countries throughout my twenties. Where I am now is made up of all of those experiences and influences. I am so lucky that the place I have chosen to live now is also the home to so many talented, young and creative business owners forming an invaluable support network and sounding platform - we are all doing amazing things and all rooting for each other.

What advice would you give?

Don't expect to know where you want to be. Don't be too hard on yourself and treat it as a journey, if you take another path it isn't a failure, you are growing and changing all the time so be flexible. No-one is judging you. Manage your expectations: don't expect to complete everything on your overflowing to-do list, pick a realistic number of things to achieve and don't spread yourself too thin. 

www.toro-studio.com

Photo credit: Dunja Opalko

Photo credit: Dunja Opalko

Ariana Ruth, Stylist & Managing Editor - In Clover magazine

What does ‘being successful’ mean to you?

I think that there are lots of different ways to measure success, sometimes people focus purely on money, the number of followers they have or getting a particular job title. Success comes in so many forms. To me success is being happy, loving what you do and by some miracle being able to make a living off of it. I'm not entirely there yet but getting closer all the time!

How did you get to where you are now and what motivated you to get there?

Undoubtedly my parents have been a huge influence on me. They're both such inspiring, creative people and have always encouraged me to do what I want and work in a creative field. I'm also a bit of a workaholic so the freelance lifestyle is perfect for me but I still have doubts about myself! I think because I've never doubted the actual path that I'm on, it's made me a lot more vigilant. I know that the only way forward is just to keep going, take on projects that challenge me and learn from the experience, be open to opportunities and collaborate with others.

What advice would you give?

Write out a list of goals and the steps on how to achieve them with deadlines. Sometimes when you're working on a goal it can be daunting, create mini goals for yourself. This can make a huge task a little less scary! If there is someone that you admire and want to work with - send them an email. I’ve gotten a lot of work from doing this, you’d be surprised how little people actually do this, your email will stand out.

www.readinclovermagazine.com

Photo credit: Issy Croker

Photo credit: Issy Croker

Alex Hely-Hutchinson, Chef -  Author of 26 Grains

What does ‘being successful’ mean to you?

The measure of success is different for everyone, but success comes in two forms for me. Firstly, I believe it’s doing what you love; for me that's cooking and being able to earn a living from it. Secondly, it's overcoming the challenges, big and small, every day. It's being able to conquer your doubt, doubt by others and recognising the accomplishments achieved alone and together.

What is real is that success is constant, every day you're achieving something. The thing is, the threshold of success moves with every achievement. If I said to myself two years ago that we would have the site, team and book that we do today, I wouldn't have believed you. Then when I'm here, I'm continually asked, where to next. Really, this is all I could have asked for and it's important to recognise that.

How did you get to where you are now and what motivated you to get there?

I think taking it slow, staying true to my goals rather than being influenced by the way the market is developing. And also, the kindness of many whether that be mentors, influencers or my family working on the stall.

 Could you give any advice to others that may be struggling to get to where they want to be?

As good as it is to look forward, it's important to look back and recognise what has been achieved in the past. Don't be proud, my experience of success or what I regard as success, has come from the efforts of many. Ask for help, work with people you admire and achieve something wonderful. Also sleep. Sleep is so important. I didn't sleep at the beginning because I thought that meant failure. Take time for yourself and you'll be a million times more efficient and productive with your working time.

www.26grains.com

Jenny Kiker, Artist - Living Pattern

What does ‘being successful’ mean for you personally?

I feel successful because I have established a comfortable home environment for myself and get to spend my days pursuing art while inspiring others.

How did you get to where you are now and how did you stay motivated?

When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was make art, that never went away, so motivation isn't a problem. Doing all the other things that come with running a business take self discipline but I am most motivated by my customer's reaction when they receive a beautifully packaged piece of art on their doorstep.

What advice would you give to others?

I would say be quick to take an endeavour and quick to exit an endeavour. I explored many, many artistic styles and creative products before Living Pattern came about. For example, I used to make art with metallics paints on lacquered wood before botanical watercolour became my signature style. Just keep exploring the things that interest you and you'll find what you're looking for!

www.livingpattern.net

Creative Business Inspiration for a New Year

Image by Laura Pashby

Image by Laura Pashby

Here at 91 we are all creative freelancers, with varied portfolio careers. We understand all too well the challenges (and the thrills) of running a creative business. It can sometimes be hard to stay focussed and energised if you work freelance, or from home, so we thought that we'd start the year with a dose of creative business inspiration. Here are some blog posts, articles and podcasts that have helped us to feel positive about our creative business (and creative life) plans for 2017...

1. Tara Swiger's podcast on The Importance of Planning. This is a great place to start if you're not sure which direction to take your business in 2017. Tara also offers a comprensive Map-Making Guide, which you can download for a small fee.

2. Jen Carrington's thoughts on 10 Ways You Can Live and Work Wholeheartedly in 2017 aims to show you how to make 2017 your most meaningful, focused and wholehearted year yet.

3. If you find this time of year difficult, and feel overwhelmed by comparisons between yourself and those you see around you in life, or on social media, take a moment to read and be comforted by Sas Petherick's piece: read this if you feel like time is running out for you.

4. This piece by Gretchen Rubin in the Guardian talks about how to use the power of habits to change your life for the better in 2017.

5. Following a successful year in 2016, Sara Tasker of Me and Orla shares her thoughts on 5 Ways to Grow Your Creative Business This Year.

Our brilliant columnist Meredith Crawford shares her own thoughts on life with a creative business in each issue of 91. If you haven't already snapped up a copy of this Autumn/ Winter issue of 91, be quick- we're down to the last few boxes and they are selling fast.