Punch needle embroidery with The Modern Crafter

Punch needle embroidery is proving to be the hottest new yarn-based trend and is taking the craft scene by storm. Kath Webber visits Urban Makers market to learn this new textile art from The Modern Crafter

Punch needle embroidery workshop

As a crocheter and knitter, I always have a stash of beautifully-coloured yarns and wools that are left over from various projects, so when we were invited to a punch needle embroidery workshop by The Modern Crafter, I was thrilled to find a new way to use my favourite materials. The Modern Crafter is in fact two modern crafters - sisters Rachel Lawson and Siobhan Watt, who’ve combined the latter’s experience in textile and pattern design with the former’s love of needlecraft to share this contemporary way of creating tactile art. It was when Rachel was on maternity leave that she discovered punch needle as a quick way to use her embroidery skills, and she asked Siobhan to design a pattern to stitch, leading to a fab collaboration that is going from strength to strength.

Punch needle embroidery workshop
Punch needle embroidery workshop

The pair have been working with Urban Makers - a collective of modern makers gathering at pop-up markets - to host the workshops. On this particular Saturday the workshop and market took place in London’s Spitalfields - an exciting hub of unique talent that hosts markets every day with street food stalls and permanent bricks-and-mortar stores. Up on the mezzanine level away from the buzz of the market, a wooden table was laid out with balls of wool, linen fabric stretched over wooden hoops, colourful templates, interesting tools and bags of inspiration.

Designers Rachel and Siobhan introduced themselves and showed us some of their frankly stunning examples of punch needlework - abstract designs in a Scandi colour scheme made into wall hangings before explaining the tools in front of us. Each participant had a wooden gripper hoop fitted with a natural linen fabric, a punch needle, threader, yarn snips and a pile of yarn to play with. Rachel explained that all the tools and materials in our kit were sourced from the UK, and all the items were included with the DIY kit we could take home with us to continue our new obsession.

Punch needle embroidery workshop
Punch needle embroidery workshop
Punch needle embroidery workshop
Punch needle embroidery workshop
Punch needle embroidery workshop

After choosing a design from Siobhan’s templates (or drawing our own), we set about transferring the design onto our linen - holding it up to the light to trace it with a sharpie straight on to the fabric. With a somewhat slapdash approach to tracing I was assured the black pen lines would be concealed by the stitches! Rachel and Siobhan worked their way around the group showing us how to thread the needle, which has a wooden handle and is held like a pencil.

We then chose our colours and set to work punching! It’s tremendously fun but starting can be a little daunting - making a huge hole in the fabric more than once (more like 20 times!) is an easy mistake, but luckily our teachers were on hand to show us each how to adjust our technique to settle into a mindful rhythm. Where the wool was pulled too loose or the stitches were too small or tight, Rachel gave us non-judgmental advice and after an hour or so I had tried using stitches on the front side and reverse to achieve different textures. Although I hadn’t finished my hoop design, I was delighted to be given the complete DIY kit to take home so I could finish it off, which now hangs proudly in my kitchen diner. I found the needle punch process completely absorbing and I’m excited to try more with my linen fabric and gripper hook from my kit. It is a wonderful medium for cushions and bags as well as wall hangings. In fact, I’m so obsessed I’ve sent my own sister off to The Modern Crafter’s online store to get herself a kit so I can pass on Rachel’s techniques.

Punch needle embroidery workshop
Punch needle embroidery workshop
Punch needle embroidery workshop

To find out more on upcoming workshop dates visit The Modern Crafter website or follow them on Instagram. and for other Urban Makers events, visit www.urbanmakers.co.uk.

Thank you to Siobhan and Rachel for offering 91 Magazine a complimentary place on this workshop for review purposes.

Photography by Charlie Goodge

91 is pinning... Christmas table decor

Sometimes turning to Pinterest for inspiration can feel a bit overwhelming with it’s perfectly styled images and unattainable interiors, but if you are on the hunt for some ideas for your Christmas table this year, then bear this in mind: Simplicity is usually best. If you see something you love, it’s probably quite easy to deconstruct what is involved and realise it’s actually not overly complicated.

Below are a few ideas we’ve been pinning from Pinterest in the run up to the big day. From these you’ll see all that is really needed is foliage and some candles, texture in the form of a linen table cloth and napkins, and if you’d like to add a bit of sparkle, go for metallic candle holders or cutlery! Couldn’t be simpler right?! More visual inspiration on our boards.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year. We are taking a blog break now until January, and we’d like to say a huge thank you for all the support of 91 this year! Thank you to everyone who has bought the magazine, read our blog and came to our workshops! We are excited for what 2019 might have in store! Caroline x

Photo:  Jojotastic

Photo: Jojotastic

Photo:  Local Milk

Photo: Local Milk

Photo:  Sister Mag

Photo: Sister Mag

A simple winter table

Here at 91 we are approaching Christmas this year with a simpler mindset. Excessive consumerism is being dialled back and many of us are leaning towards living with less, enjoying the moment and not overdoing it; from food and drink to gifts and decor. Stylist Sophie Warren Smith shares her ideal winter table - one that epitomises this lifestyle - scandi-inspired, stylish, simple. Follow her tips to recreate the look…

a simple scandi winter table - 91 Magazine

Set the scene

To stop a simple Scandi table from looking too stark, lots of greenery is a must. You can keep spending to a minimum by foraging for as much as possible. I collected a few of different types of fragrant fir and small pinecones on dog walks - keep your eyes peeled - there’s also plenty of holly and ivy about too. You can then get a bunch of eucalyptus fairly cheaply from the florists, along with a few stems of thistles and roses, which all add texture and interest to your display.

Scatter a few small sprigs along the middle of your table, and then create a focal point with a vase - or a jug like the one I’ve used here. A great styling tip is to work in three’s, so here, I have added two glass candlesticks to flank the jug.

A tablecloth is a super simple way to add elegance to the overall look. If you don’t have one to hand, a length of linen or even a plain bed sheet will do the job! You can even leave the edges frayed for a more rustic, relaxed look.

a simple scandi Christmas table - 91 Magazine

It’s all in the detail

If you use glass bottles as candleholders as I have here, why not pop a small sprig of eucalyptus inside? Add a few vintage style mercury baubles to the centre that have a slight shimmer to catch the warmth and glow of the candlelight. Create a charming place setting by tying a stem of eucalyptus and thistle together, alternatively, you could use a piece of fir/Christmas tree (from the lower end of your tree) or some mistletoe.

simple Christmas table styling ideas - 91 Magazine

Make your table inviting

The key to this look is ‘less is more’, keep it uncluttered, simple yet sophisticated. Try layering your plates, it creates visual depth and makes the setting feel a little special. Place napkins in between the two plates to add texture, and to keep the table surface less busy. I’ve purposely chosen white plates for a more minimal look, but patterned plates on a plain tablecloth will look equally lovely. An optional, but wonderful finishing touch - add some sheepskins to your seating, they are super cosy and create a tactile, welcoming and comfy feel for your guests.

*The wall hanging in these images is part of A Foraged Christmas, a mini online course that goes on sale Monday 3rd December, priced at £18 for four festive easy to follow step by step projects that include a wreath, a mantelpiece garland and a festive bunch. See Sophie’s Instagram for further details.

DIY: reusable waxed cloth food wraps

We are all trying to do our bit to reduce plastic waste, and the kitchen is one area where you can make plenty of changes. Cling film can easily be eradicated from regular use by replacing it with waxed food wraps. You can buy these now from various retailers, but Juliet Bawden is here to show us how to make our own, allowing you to choose any fabric design you like - and I think you’ll agree, it looks much prettier than cling film ever did!

DIY wax cloth food wrap project

You will need:

  • Closely woven cotton fabric, similar to a bed sheet in feel. We got ours from Cloth and Candy

  • Wax - either grated from a large block or you can buy wax pellets on line.

  • Baking parchment

  • A flat baking tray

  • Pinking shears

  • Flat decorators paint brush

  • Tape measure

  • Paper scissors

make your own reusable wax food wrap
  1. Use the bowl or vessel you wish to cover as a template and draw around leaving an extra two centimetres on each side. Cut out the fabric with pinking shears so you won’t have to hem the fabric.

make your own reusable food wrap

2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, then place the fabric on top and sprinkle the wax evenly on the fabric.

DIY wax food wrap

3. Place in a low temperature oven, approx. 100°C, and watch the fabric through the oven door until the wax melts into the cloth, this should take between five and ten minutes. Remove carefully and use a paintbrush to spread the wax, covering any parts of the fabric where the wax may not have penetrated.

how to make a waxed cloth food wrap

4. Hang the fabric up to dry. Once the cloth is dry it will still feel slightly sticky and waxy but that is the nature of the beast. You can make cloths for specific containers or larger pieces which can be multi-purpose and could wrap items such as loaves of bread or pieces of fruit.

waxed cloth food wrap - make your own

Wash your wraps after use in cool water with some gentle soap and leave to dry.

Photography: Antonia Attwood

Make: A Floral Hoop

Pretty foliage and greenery can make for a stunning focal point at any celebration. Whether it’s an extravagant wedding feature or a simple summer garden party, flowers are always the most striking way to create a memorable focal point. Marianne of Frances and Rose and photographer Kathryn Taylor share a wonderfully simple way to create your own handcrafted floral hoop which can add that touch of pretty creativity to any occasion.

Frances&RoseII(18of22).jpg

You will you need:

  • A Hula hoop (a children’s hula hoop is perfect!)
  • Green stem tape
  • 26 gram reel of green wire
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon for the finish
  • Foliage/ flowers – a mixed bucket of around 50-70 stems, if using foraged foliage make sure to condition them properly to prevent it from wilting.
DIY tutorial - flower hoop decoration for weddings

Flower Preparation: To condition foraged foliage and prevent them from wilting, cut the stems at an angle and make a straight cut vertically to create a slight split. Place the stems into a pan of boiling water for around 30 seconds, or until they stop releasing bubbles, and then immediately plunge into a separate bucket of cold water to cool. Leave them in there for one hour. A good tip to remember is that flowers with stronger, waxier leaves tend to work better than softer, floppier leaves for this particular project.

If you are decorating for a special occasion you can also source local, lovingly grown cut blooms from the ‘Flowers From the Farm’ organization. This is a collaboration of growers and florists based throughout the UK who sell freshly cut flowers by the bucket!

To find your nearest British flower farmer see their website and make your handmade arrangements something truly unique: www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk

Method: 

1. Take the floral stem tape and wrap around the entire hoop so you have a totally green base to work from. This will give the hoop grip for the flowers and an even backdrop. Plastic hoops can be very slippery so if possible a wooden or bamboo hoop is a great alternative.  

2. To start with, take your scissors and cut a collection of stems. You can make them as long or as short as you wish. However prepare these in advance before the next step.

Make a floral hoop decoration - summer party styling
DIY project - Floral wreath using a hula hoop

3. Take your wire and secure it by winding it tightly at the starting point of your hoop. A good tip is to twist it a couple of times to build security. Leave the reel attached at this stage, don’t cut the wire!

4. Separately create small bunches of 3-4 stems. Hold them together in one hand and place them parallel to the hoop. Simply follow by wrapping the wire around each floral bundle three to four times to hold strongly in place. 

5. Make the next bundle and lay it over the last with the stems in the same direction. You should aim for the new leaves to cover the stems of the previously secured bundle. Again wrap each floral collection approximately three to four times.

Make a floral decoration using a hula hoop

6. Continue this process the entire way around. Try to plan out your flowers as you go but don’t be afraid to get creative. Create clusters using flowers alongside simple greenery that will add beautiful contrast and balance to your design as it grows around the hoop. For this example we built the greenery and flowers around two thirds and then left space for the addition of a classic green velvet ribbon as a finishing touch.

DIY floral hoop decoration
Floral hoop decoration - using British grown flowers

Flower Tips: If you are hoping to use a lot of flowers, it is recommended to make your floral feature as close to the event as possible to avoid wilting. Stronger stemmed flowers or even dried flowers like hydrangeas or helichrysum can make the most beautifully diverse arrangement that will also last the course. If you are really keen on using garden roses and other soft flowers out or water for any length of time, florist test tubes wired into the design can help to keep them plump and in bloom for longer. And why not get a bit experimental. Sturdy fruit tree branches such as apple tree springs or even hardy herbs can add texture and fragrance to your party piece as well as much needed structure and strength.

Learn with Frances & Rose: If you fancy learning more about how to make floral hoops, crowns or bouquets using home grown, seasonal British flowers, Marianne of Frances & Rose holds group and 121 workshops from her studio in the heart of the Peak District.

To find out more go to www.francesandrose.co.uk or @francesandrose on Instagram.

Photography: Kathryn Taylor - follow on Instagram: @hello_kathryntaylor

floral hoop DIY

Simple summer outdoor dining

What a hot, dry summer we've had so far in the UK! While many of us have found it overwhelming, there's no denying one of the joys of the warm weather is eating al fresco in the evening, as the light fades and the heat subsides. Writer and maker Claire Holland, who recently launched her lifestyle blog Paper Thin Moon, shares some simple styling ideas as well as four delicious dishes to serve for a relaxed summer meal.

outdoor summer dining styling and recipes

I often sit in the garden at this time of year and ask myself, what would it be like sitting here on this patch of grass under the apple tree during the winter months.  The truth is, I can’t imagine it.  We live through such long periods of the year when it’s too cold to sit and relax outside that it’s easy to forget how glorious the summer months can be. Walking barefoot on grass, reading beneath the shade of a tree, and the warm glow of the early evening sun on your skin all very quickly become distant memories once winter comes around. If I ever need to remind myself to live in the moment, it’s during the summer months that I find it easiest. It’s the perfect time for slowing down, being with friends and family, celebrating togetherness and good food, and taking in as much sunshine as possible before the autumn leaves begin to fall.

outdoor summer dining styling and recipes

In deepest summer, I try and eat every meal outdoors. When there’s time - usually at the weekends when the days are more lazy and carefree - I like to take the dining table out into the garden and style up our outdoor space for a relaxed summer soiree, creating an atmosphere that’s cosy and a little bit magical. The trick when dining outside in the evening is to keep the colours of your linens and accessories light and bright.  That way, once the sun starts to set you can see what you’re doing more easily as any available light bounces off them. The dusty pink table cloth here is from H&M, and I picked up the faded grey napkins from Closet & Botts. The pale blue side plates are recent buys from the John Lewis “Jaipur” range. The white ones did have a pattern on them when first bought, but over the years it’s been completely faded by the dishwasher, leaving them plain and boring.  I achieved the 'splatter' look by flicking multi-surface gold paint on to them with an old toothbrush.

summer outdoor dining styling and recipes

Soft lighting is what makes a dinner table and, of course, lighting is key when eating outdoors at night. Inside, I always err on the dark side when lighting a room, but it’s disconcerting not to be able to see what you’re eating once the light starts to fade, or the faces of the people sitting opposite you. As soon as the sun starts to set, we switch on the overhead festoon bulbs (ours are the extendable version from Cox & Cox), and light the candles on the table to create a soft, warm glow. Once the moon is high in the sky, the solar lanterns (Ikea finds) hanging from the tree start to come on one by one, adding ambient light and a magical feel.

summer outdoor dining styling and recipes

Flowers are non-negotiable on any dining table as far as I’m concerned. The searing heat and lack of rain has left my garden parched and overgrown. The delphiniums, lupins and foxgloves were over weeks ago, but the climbing roses are starting to bloom for the second time this year, and I added some of those to my arrangements. I also utilised the flowering dill, mint blossom and the small blooms of late flowering purple hydrangeas from my garden, supplementing them with florist-bought waxflower, stocks and alliums, and grasses picked from the hedgerows. 

summer outdoor dining styling and recipes

Naturally, it’s not my favourite time to be in the kitchen but it’s always a joy to celebrate the season with dishes that are perfect for summer dining.  Fresh fig and goats cheese salad, slow roasted tomato and asparagus tart, soft peppers stuffed with fennel, and a chicory and fennel salad served with a zingy anchovy and lemon dressing were the simple dishes on the menu. During this long, hot summer of ours, I’m all about keeping the food fresh and light. Serve with a loaf of rye sourdough, and plenty of chilled Sancerre, and you’ve got a table fit for a feast. 

Roasted red peppers stuffed with fennel and tomato

RECIPES (all serve 4) 

Roasted red peppers stuffed with fennel and tomato

Ingredients:

  • 4 red peppers
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 400g tin of whole plum tomatoes
  • A teaspoon of coriander seeds
  • Half a teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method: Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4, 180C. Cut the tops off the fennel and cut the bulbs into quarters and then into eights, being careful to try and keep the layers together as much as possible.  Blanch for five minutes in a pan of boiling water. Set aside to cool. Slice the peppers in half with a sharp knife, cutting through the green ends and leaving them intact (you wont be eating them but it looks nice). Remove the seeds then lay the peppers on a baking tray. Drain the plum tomatoes and divide them equally between the peppers. Toast the seeds for a few minutes in a frying pan over a low heat to help release the flavours, then crush them in a pestle and mortar. Arrange the segments of fennel in the pepper and sprinkle fennel and coriander seed powder over the top and then drizzle with the oil. Season and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for one hour.

Fig, Prosciutto, and Spinach Salad with Chèvre and Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette

Fig, prosciutto, and spinach salad with chèvre and preserved lemon vinaigrette

Ingredients for the salad: 

  • Pack of baby spinach leaves
  • 70g flaked almonds, toasted
  • 450g fresh figs, quartered
  • 115g fresh cherries
  • 115g blueberries
  • 115g chèvre (hard goats cheese). I used the delicious St Helen’s Farm hard goats cheese.
  • 55g prosciutto, thinly sliced

Ingredients for the dressing: 

  • 1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  •  1 1/4  teaspoons of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 sea salt

Method: For the preserved lemon vinaigrette, whisk together the lemon rind, oil, vinegar, honey and salt until completely combined. Toss the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately. {This recipe is from the book “First We Eat” by Eva Cosmos Flores, published by Abrams} 

Roasted tomato and asparagus tart

Roasted tomato and asparagus tart

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 100g chilled butter, diced
  • A couple of tablespoons of water
  • A pinch of salt

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 400g cherry tomatoes
  • 400g asparagus
  • A few spring onions or one leek, sliced
  • 3 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons of double cream
  • The zest of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 50g parmesan

Method: Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1/2, 120C. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the salt, and water if necessary and mix to a firm dough, firstly with a butter knife and then with your hands. Knead the dough on a floured surface. Put in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and arrange on a baking tray. Season and drizzle with olive oil. Bake them in the oven for approximately 50 minutes. Break the hard ends off the asparagus then blanch it in boiling water for 3 or 4 minutes. Plunge the asparagus into a bowl of chilled water, then lift it out and set to one side. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, cream, lemon juice and rind, parmesan and dijon mustard. Season to taste. Take the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface. Place the pastry in a 25cm tart case, leaving an overhang of approximately 5cm round the edge. Use remnants of the pastry rolled into a small ball to gently pad the rolled out pastry into the corners of the tin. In a separate oven (or once the tomatoes are ready, take them out and turn up the heat) blind bake the pastry case for 20 minutes at gas mark 3, 170C. 

While the pastry is cooking, fry the leeks or spring onions in a tablespoon of olive oil for around five minutes. Add some sprigs of thyme and fry for another five minutes and then take off the heat. Remove the baking beans from the pastry case and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Trim the edges of the pastry case. Put the onions/leeks on the bottom of the pastry case and then arrange the asparagus spears on top. Add the egg and cream mixture carefully and then scatter the tomatoes on top of the mixture (they may sink a little). Bake for another 20 minutes, watching it so that it doesn’t overcook around the edges. Check the tart is ready by poking a wooden or metal skewer into the middle. If the skewer comes out clean, the tart filling is set.

Chicory & fennel salad with lemon & anchovy dressing

Chicory & fennel salad with lemon & anchovy dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 bulb of fennel (remove the tops and set aside)
  • 2 heads of red chicory
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • The juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method: Whizz up the oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon and anchovy fillets in a blender. Thinly slice the fennel and chicory and arrange in a bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and decorate with frilly fronds from the fennel tops.

summer outdoor dining styling and recipes

Styling: Claire Holland / Photography: Charlie Bibby: www.paperthinmoon.com

Follow on Instagram: @paperthinmoon

summer recipes and styling for a summer party

WIN a monthly flower delivery from The Real Flower Company

It's no secret we love flowers here at 91! To be honest who doesn't?! Whether it's a simple single stem in a bud vase, a huge extravagant bouquet or a summer garden of wildflowers they never fail to raise a smile.

WIN a monthly flower delivery - The Real Flower Co

Our current issue of 91 (buy here) and the latest free e-zine (register to receive here) both celebrate beautiful blooms in their various forms.  Stylist/photographer Catherine Frawley created a stunning feature for the magazine sharing ideas of how to craft and decorate with flowers in slightly unusual ways - from table settings to wreaths. We worked together on this with The Real Flower Company - who promote provenance and sustainability by growing their range of cut flowers in either their UK-based and fairtrade farms. We are thrilled to share that we have one three-month flower delivery package to give away to one lucky reader! What could be better that receiving a stunning bouquet of flowers every month?! Or you could treat a special someone perhaps... You can enter at the bottom of this post, but first, do have a read of our chat with founder Rosebie Morton.... 

Rosebie Morton - The Real Flower Co founder

91: At The Real Flower Company you grow your flowers at your own English and Fairtrade sustainable farms. I'm sure a lot of people would not even consider sustainability when it comes to flowers, but can you explain why this is so important? 

Rosebie: As flower farmers, we take our responsibility to our environment and to wildlife very seriously. Our goal is to improve and enhance our natural surroundings rather than to deplete them. Our aim is to improve the soil, to encourage beneficial insects and to grow flowers as nature intended. We are members of the Farm Wildlife Advisory Group, part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and we are certified under the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme. Through the way we farm and grow our flowers, we want to leave our world a better place than we found it.

91: Many people probably also don't realise that most commercially grown flowers have their scent gene removed! Your passion is to ensure this gene is kept intact. Is there anything gardeners can do at home to improve the scent intensity of their own blooms? 

Rosebie: What is important is the species and varieties you choose to grow rather than how you grow them. For instance, I love the wonderful clove-like scent of Dianthus – my favourites include Doris, which has a nostalgic romanticism, and the pretty frills of Mrs Sinkins, Dianthus Cathusianorum which has a bright pink pretty flower and is great for cutting and Dianthus Arenarius, pure white with delicate flowers and an incredible scent. Then for me, no English garden is complete without scented roses and sweet peas. My mother and grandmother were both keen gardeners and it was the fragrant roses of my childhood that inspired me to start The Real Flower Company. In terms of scented roses, I love Chandos Beauty, Margaret Merril and Romantic Antike. 

WIN a monthly delivery of flowers from the Real Flower Company

91: People always want their cut flowers to last as long as possible – what tips can you share with our readers for getting lasting enjoyment from your flowers? 

Rosebie: Start by trimming the stems at a 45-degree angle with a sharp pair of scissors or secateurs. Then place them straight into water, either with some cut-flower food or add a teaspoon of sugar, two to three drops of bleach and a dessertspoonful of vinegar to prolong their life. Change the water regularly and keep your flowers in a shady spot.

91: Flowers definitely seem subject to fashion. What are your predictions for floral trends in the year ahead? 

Rosebie: I think the big shift will happen next year when there will be a move to more bright and vibrant shades. This year it’s very understated and soft, calm and muted tones have been popular. We’ve always championed a natural, ‘just-picked-from-the-garden’ look so it’s great to see this increasing in popularity. I also think Meghan and Harry’s wedding flowers will have an impact for the rest of this year. 

91: Finally, what would you have in your absolute ultimate bouquet? 

Rosebie: For me, it’s whatever is in season and scented – so right now I have a beautiful bunch of Lily of the Valley from our farm close by. Soon our English rose season will start and then Margaret Merril – the quintessential English rose with a scent like no other – hand-tied in a natural arrangement with wild flowers from our farm’s wildflower meadow will be taking pride of place on my table and filling my home with its exquisite scent.

91 Mag Wreath_03_LO.jpg

Thank you Rosebie! What a lovely insight into what sounds like an absolute dream career! The images that Catherine Frawley shot for us highlight how simply stunning The Real Flower Company's flowers are don't you think?! Now, to be in with a chance of winning that 3-month floral subscription worth £165 - a gorgeous seasonal bouquet delivered to your door each month (or the door of someone you want to treat!) - all you have to do is enter your details below. A winner will be drawn at random after the closing date which is 15th June 2018. This giveaway is only open to UK entrants due to the nature of the prize (see UK delivery exclusions below), and please do read the full terms and conditions below before entering.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED & a winner was picked at random. Congratulations to emma boyns. 

Name *
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I give my consent for my email address to be added to the mailing lists of:
By ticking either or both of the below boxes, you are giving permission for these brands to send you marketing emails regarding special offers, product news, events and other updates. Further details can be found via the Privacy Policy on each brand's respective websites.

Terms and Conditions

1. Only entries made before the closing date – 15 / 06 / 2018 will be valid. 

2. The winner will be selected at random and will be notified via the email address they provided shortly after the closing date. 

3. The winner will have five working days to respond with the delivery details they wish the flowers to go to. If a reply is not received by this date, they will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be chosen. 

4. No cash alternative. 

5. The giveaway is open to UK only.

The Real Flower Co can deliver to most UK postcodes but there are exceptions in the highlands and islands as it can take two days to reach by van and sadly the flowers don't suit that environment.

Unfortunately they are unable to deliver to:-
AB37-38, AB41-56, IV1-20, IV25, IV30-37, IV63, KW1-3, KW6-10, KW14,PH15-26, PA21-35, PA37-39, PH33,49, IV21-24, IV26-28, IV40, KW5,KW11-13, FK18-21,PA36, PA40, PH30-32, PH34-41,PH50, HS1-9, IV41-56, KA27-28, KW15-17, PA20, PA41-49, PA62-76, PH42-44, ZE1-3 Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Scilly Isles.

6. By providing your email address & ticking the check boxes in the above form you are giving permission to be added to the mailing lists of 91 Magazine and/or The Real Flower Co. Your details will not be shared with any further third parties. 

7. One entry per person.

This post was sponsored by The Real Flower Company. Images by Catherine Frawley for 91 Magazine.  

Spring floral styling

It's certainly felt like the arrival of a new season has been a long time coming with the recent cold snap we've had here in the UK, but hopefully those warmer days are on their way, and we can't help but dream of open windows, warm breezes and delicate blooms to decorate with. Simple floral displays can be made even more special with the addition of beautiful vessels and of course here at 91 we love to opt for pieces from independent shops and designers where we can. Stylist Sally Meier shares a few of her favourite Spring stems mixed with ceramics and glassware from some of our fave indie brands... 

Styling with spring flowers and indie homeware products

A mix of individual stems like grape hyacinth, wax flowers, daisies and olive sprigs create a delicate look for a table centre-piece. Add subtle colour with tinted vases, while keeping the rest of your settings soft and neutral. 

Side plates, from £11.25; Solano vase large clear, £10; Solano vase small clear, £7.50; Babylock napkins, £8.75; Lithuanian linen fringe table cloth, £96 - all Canvas Home / Green bud vase, £6.50; Drinking glass, £7.50; Mini lilac vase, £4.50 - all Elkins (Crystal Palace) / Contrast edged linen napkin, white & green, £15, The Conran ShopAntique cutlery, stylists own

Spring flower styling and indie homeware products

The vase can be just as much a focal point as the flowers are - or in this case - blossom branches. Group together a selection of interesting vessels in similar shades and fill with the same type of stems or foliage for a cohesive display. 

Bud vase (left), £30, Sarah Hall / Lindform vase (middle), £29, Botanique Workshop  / Morandi bud vase medium (right), £7.50; Lithuanian linen fringe table cloth, £96 - both Canvas Home / Granite mug, £22, Lazy Glaze / Antique plate & fork, stylists own

Spring flower styling and indie homeware products

Nothing says Spring than a statement display of wildflowers! Forage for daisies, astrantia and wax flowers or buy handfuls from your local florist or farm shop and arrange loosely in a large vase. They will look great in the middle of the kitchen table or will simply bring Spring to any room of the house. 

Cut Out platter, £40, Lazy Glaze / all other items, stylists own. 

Spring flower styling and indie homeware products

Have a bit of fun styling a floral display on a sideboard or shelf with a mixture of pots and vases in varying sizes and different Spring blooms like anemones, narcissus and grape hyacinths. Again, pick pots that are as interesting as their contents. 

Three-legged pot (left), £23; Candle holders, £8 each - both Elkins (Crystal Palace) / Pot (right), design collaboration between Lazy Glaze x Julianna Byrne, £65, Lazy Glaze / All other items, stylists own.

Spring flower styling and indie homeware products

A single stem or sprig can prettify your place settings in an instant, and takes minimum effort when hosting a relaxed Springtime lunch. If using coloured napkins, make sure to opt for a bloom in a coordinating colour. These deep pink astrantia look wonderful against the peachy gingham napkins.

Shell Bisque dinner plate, £15, Canvas Home / Gingham napkin in Melon, £15; Duralex Picardie glass, £1.75, both The Conran Shop / Tablecloth, stylists own

Spring flower styling and indie homeware products

Go for an ultra-feminine, blousy bouquet of Spring flowers with anemones and tulips. A display like this will start off with a more formal look as both flowers contain their blooms neatly before they open and become loose and carefree. Here a simple, plain vase allows the unruly flower heads to take centre-stage. 

Hay Soft Ice enamel plates, £15 each and bowls, £13 each - both Nook / Butter dish, £68, Sarah HallVase and tablecloth, stylists own

Photography: Jon Green / Styling: Sally Meier

Spring flowers styling inspiration

91 is pinning... Spring decor

I don't know about you, but I am in serious need for Spring to hurry itself up! A really chilly February here in the UK has had me yearning for those days when you can leave the house without four layers, mornings when you can have breakfast on the patio, and decorating the house with delicate blooms that have popped their heads up in the garden. I'm sure it'll be here soon, but in the meantime, we have been pinning some Spring inspiration in preparation for a Mother's Day feast, an Easter breakfast or simply a relaxed Spring time gathering.....

Styling:  Amanda Russell   / Photo:  Antonia Attwood  for  91 Magazine

Styling: Amanda Russell  / Photo: Antonia Attwood for 91 Magazine

Styling:  Laura Sawyer   / Photo:  Malcolm Menzies  for  91 Magazine

Styling: Laura Sawyer  / Photo: Malcolm Menzies for 91 Magazine

via  Hitta Hem

Head to our Pinterest board for more Spring inspiration. We can wait to be able to fling open the doors and feel the sun on our faces! ;) 

MAKE: a driftwood clothes rail

Open clothes storage is becoming more and more popular with stylish clothes rails being favoured over bulky wardrobes which can often leave your clothes smelling fusty. In our SS17 issue, the home tour with Britt and Sander from Daily Poetry showed how they'd used simple black metal rails and a bookcase to store their clothing - simple but effective (see here

DIY project - make a branch clothes rail

Today we are sharing a DIY project from new book Woodworking on how to make your own branch clothes rail for next to nothing. Apart from some lengths of leather and a few inexpensive tools, you'll just need to invest some time sourcing a suitable piece of wood and then creating and installing it - resulting in a totally unique way to store and display your wardrobe.  

TOOLS & MATERIALS

  • 1 piece of driftwood, approx. 140cm (55 inches) in length. Consider the thickness of the stick as it must be suitable for your chosen hangers.
  • 2 pieces of leather, approx. 3cm (1¼ inches) wide and 5m (16½ feet) long (the length will depend on the height of your ceiling). Natural leather is hard to cut, so we tend to ask our local leather merchant to cut it for us
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper (#150) 
  • Leather hole punch
  • 2 x 1cm (½ inch) copper or brass nails/studs for each strap
  • Hand saw
  • 2 x strong screws (for attaching wardrobe (closet) to the ceiling)
  • Ruler
  • Electric (hand-held) drill
driftwood clothes hanger - DIY
make a driftwood clothes rail

STEP 01 - Comb your nearest beach for a suitable piece of driftwood, then leave your chosen wood to dry out in the sun.

STEP 02 - Use the sandpaper to clean and polish the rough edges. Run the sandpaper along the stick to make sure there are no splinters or small rough knots.

creating a branch clothes hanger with leather straps

STEP 03 - Using the saw, cut the stick to your desired length. The maximum length would be 150cm (59 inches), to ensure the stick is strong enough.

STEP 04 - Using the leather hole punch, prepare two holes in the leather around 1cm (¹⁄³ inch) inside the edge of the strap and 25cm (10 inches) from the end. You could even ask your leather merchant to cut the holes. Hammer the copper or brass nails or studs into place.

wood and leather clothes hanger

STEP 05 - Loop the leather straps around each end of your chosen branch.

STEP 06 - Check the exact measurement between the two leather straps and mark the two spots on the ceiling where the straps will be attached. Drill holes in the ceiling for the screws and attach the straps to the ceiling.

driftwood clothes rail - DIY project

The branch could literally be hung using any material: rope, rough twine, coarse fabric, even an old fine silk scarf. You can hang it next to a wall as a sort of separate closet, but it also works beautifully as a room divider. And while it’s perfect for holding your clothes in the bedroom, you could also use it as an installation for pots and pans over your kitchen sink, swapping the clothes hangers with some beautiful vintage meat hooks from a butcher. 

If this has got you in the mood for trying your hand working with wood a bit more, then do check out this book - Woodworking by Andrea Brugi and Samina Langholz. Published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group (£20). Out 22nd March 2018. Pre order now.

DIY Make your own driftwood clothes rail

3 Earth Friendly Ways To Decorate Your Christmas Table

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, full of cherished moments with family and friends and lots of fun and festivities. Yet, it is also a time of year that creates incredible amounts of waste that has a huge impact on the environment. In the UK alone 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away annually according to Imperial College research. Astonishingly 226,800 miles of wrapping paper, which is enough to stretch nine times around the world, ends up in landfill; along with 125,000 tons of plastic wrapping.

Also, most Christmas decorations like tinsel and baubles are made from plastic, which is a huge environmental problem and will end up forever in landfill or the ocean. Plus, I know everyone loves a sparkly Christmas, but don’t forget that glitter is actually a micro-plastic, the worst kind of plastic. It currently accounts for 85% of plastic found in the environment and it is so small that tiny organisms, especially aquatic life, can consume it. Therefore, through the food chain, it eventually ends up back on our plates. So if you prefer your seafood plastic free, read on for some fun, beautiful and earth-friendly ways to decorate your Christmas table or your home for the festive season.

Neutral Christmas table decor

The Neutral Look - This calm and delicate table combines natural grasses with paper, linen and ceramics to create a muted, textural look. This might be the most complicated table, but definitely worth a go and of course you can pick and choose which elements to recreate.  

Table covering: Lay a linen tablecloth (this one is from Griege). Investing in linen is something you will always value. It actually gets better with age, so you will quite possibly end up handing it down to your children. Environmentally, it’s also a much better option than cheap polyester as when polyester is washed it releases microfibers into the water, which then ends up in our precious oceans.

Place settings: These beautiful handmade ceramics are from London-based designer Andrea Roman. I love collecting handmade plates and bowls as over time it means you have a kitchen filled with unique treasures. You are also supporting local businesses and investing in life-long pieces which results in less waste and feel good vibes all round.

Handmade paper christmas decorations

Centrepiece: Arrange paper book trees down the middle of the table in alternating sizes. Have a 'making party' with friends and some mulled wine, and grab some old paperback books, any will work. If you don’t have any books in your own collection that you no longer use, pop to your local charity store & pick up a few for pocket change (while also benefiting a charity). Simply follow the easy steps on this video to make. Finish off by topping the trees with a star, find out how to make these - First step here. Second step here. I also made some paper snowflakes and baubles - you can cut these from scrap paper, old Christmas cards or used packaging. Watch this video on how to fold and cut out a snowflake and this post for instructions and a printout for the baubles. 

(NOTE: when hanging things use cotton thread instead of plastic string - things like fishing line are again a nightmare for poor aquatic life and birds. Alternatively you could use cotton ribbon, wool yarn or hessian string- all natural materials.)

neutral Christmas table decor ideas

Adding texture: I am a huge fan of foraging and harvesting what is growing in the garden or around my local area. Gathering locally means you’re not buying flowers that have travelled hundreds of air or land miles and have also most likely been sprayed with pesticides. It also means you’re cutting out the plastic they come wrapped in. So grab your secateurs and head out for a walk, enjoy the fresh air and see what lovely foliage you can find. To create this eye-catching hanging centrepiece I used Pampas grass which grows wild and free around the UK and has these beautiful fluffy plumes from October to February- perfect timing for the festive season. Using cotton yarn I tied the pampas grass stems to a bamboo stake and then hung the it from the roof rafters. Alternatively, if you can’t hang them, throw a big bunch in a tall vase for a striking centrepiece and enjoy their feathery wild loveliness. I then picked apart small pieces of the grass and laid them around the bottom of the paper trees and on each plate.

Christmas table decor ideas - colourful

The Colourful Look - This table is super easy and quick to create and will add a huge amount of vibrant colour, texture and rustic charm to your table.

Table covering: Use a roll of recycled paper as a table runner. This serves multiple purposes; 1) it uses recycled paper, 2) it protects your table from food and spills, and 3) it makes clean up super quick - just roll up and put into the recycling (although if your lucky enough to have very clean dinner guests you can keep the paper and use for something else like wrapping presents). I used a roll from Paperchase.

Centrepiece: This step is by no means essential, but if you can get your hands on some tree slices they add a lovely rustic touch to your table. Look out for them at your local flower markets or nurseries or keep your eyes peeled for tree-chopping neighbours and ask for some trunk slices! As well as being pretty, they also serve as trivets to protect your table from hot dishes. We then added a stunning handmade salad bowl from Ghaz Ceramics to the centre of the table. Feel free to use any fruit or salad bowls you love.

Colourful Christmas table using fresh produce

Add foliage and colour: Again, go foraging for some foliage - this time you’re on the look out for greens - especially pine, to give that extra Christmassy feel. It also smells beautiful! Lay small branch pieces in alternative directions down the middle of the table. For colour, add some seasonal produce- pomegranates, clementines, persimmons and artichokes are all in season this time of year and perfect for the table! I even used some pink radishes to add further pops of colour! Any type of hardy, thick-skinned fruit or vegetable will work. Just don’t put anything soft like berries on the table as it won't last. Scatter and nestle it all amongst the pine. 

Place settings: Once again, I'm advocating the investment in locally made ceramics. These beautiful plates are by Edmund Davies. A trick to slowly building a collection - buy all your plates in neutrals and whites, so that even if they are all from different makers they will mix and match beautifully. Add a pomegranate (or clementine) on each plate to add more colour. If you want to designate seats you can always write names onto the pomegranates as cute ‘place cards’. If buying new glassware, again please consider buying handmade to benefit artisans and the planet. These glasses are from Greige and are handmade in Portugal and come in all sorts of colours. Otherwise if you don’t have enough glassware for everyone, head to your local charity shop where you will find many bargains and then mix and alternate the different glassware along the table (same goes for cutlery).

After your meal, do not throw away your decorations, as you can eat them! Give your guests a little bagful to take away too. 

A dark moody Christmas table

The Dark Look - This table is great for a moody dinner setting and again is super simple to create.

Table covering: Opt for a dark coloured tablecloth - again try to opt for a linen or cotton tablecloth instead of cheap polyester. Try Greige for some lovely table linen.

Centrepiece: In the UK alone we consume 35 million bottles of wine over the festive season so this is a way to re-use some of these (and not just for Christmas). Collect bottles in varying colours and shapes, then soak in hot water to remove the labels. Wedge in some taper candles - if the bottle opening is a bit small, melt down the ends a little then twist in. To get the drip effect you just need to let the candles burn down and drip. Then simply re-fill with new candles when needed. Finally, nestle some foraged pinecones around the wine bottle candles. 

dark and moody Christmas table idea

Place settings: For this one I have created a more formal setting and layered dinner plates with entrée plates and soup bowls plus linen napkins for extra texture, all sourced for Greige and Ghaz Ceramics. Again don’t be afraid to mix and match your plates and bowls - just adhere to a similar colour palette and it will work beautifully.

We hope these ideas might have inspired you in some way! If you do create anything inspired by these ideas we would love to see - so please tag @91magazine and our stylist @laurenbeckerstylist. Many thanks to all the lovely makers and local shops that got involved in the project.

All Photography by Veerle Evens

WIN a We Are Knitters blanket kit

We absolutely love collaborating with cool brands that we love and think you will love too. In the new issue we teamed up with We Are Knitters and Melody Hoffman to showcase a couple of We Are Knitters gorgeous knitting kits. We opted for two kits from their homeware range, but you can also pick from their cosy garments range, perfect for whipping up some great Christmas gifts or just to keep yourself snug this winter.

We Are Knitters collaboration

Even if you are a knitting novice, never fear, as the kits provide you with everything you need to give it a whirl, and they are categorised into skill levels so you can start off easy and progress if you wish. To celebrate our collaboration the lovely folk of We Are Knitters are offering one 91 Magazine reader the chance to win the sleepy blanket kit as featured in the magazine! The kit is worth £99 and the winner will be able to select their preferred colour of wool. 

We Are Knitters giveaway

So, to be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is enter your details below. A winner will be drawn at random after the closing date which is 8th November 2017. Please see below for further terms and conditions. 

Name *
Name
Name

Terms and Conditions

1. Only entries made before the closing date - 8th November 2017 will be valid. 

2. The winner will be selected at random and will be notified via the email address they provided shortly after the closing date. 

3. The winner will have until 24th November 2017 to respond with their chosen wool colour and delivery address. If a reply is not received by this date, they will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be chosen. 

4. No cash alternative. 

5. The giveaway is open to worldwide entries. 

6. By entering the giveaway and providing your email address you are giving permission to be added to the mailing lists of both 91 Magazine and We are Knitters. Your details will not be shared with any further third parties. 

This post was sponsored by We Are Knitters. Images by Melody Hoffman for 91 Magazine.  

3 mini projects with Nancy Straughan fabric

Our AW17 issue arrives at 91 HQ tomorrow! If you were quick off the mark and were one of the first 200 people to order a copy you will also receive a 40cm x 40cm piece of fabric, designed by Nancy Straughan. It will be a lucky dip as to which pattern you will receive, but they are all really beautiful, so we hope you will love what you get inside your envelope. We urge you to use your creativity to turn your piece of fabric into something lovely, but here are a few ideas to get you started! 

fabric gift tags idea

FABRIC GIFT TAGS - A gift is always made that little bit extra special with beautiful wrapping, and fabric gift tags are a great way to add an element of tactility and luxury. These are SO easy to make. Lay a rectangle of fabric atop some thick paper or card, and cut both to the same size. Use craft glue to stick the fabric to the card, and allow to dry. Use pinking shears to trim to size with a zig-zag edge which looks great & also stops the fabric fraying. Fold the tag in half lengthways and use sharp scissors to cut a small hole to feed your string or ribbon through. Add a sprig of eucalyptus for perfectly stylish Christmas wrapping. You should be able to make approx 8-12 tags with your square of fabric, depending on the size you go for. 

Make an easy cushion cover

35cm x 35cm CUSHION COVER - Your square of fabric is just the right size to make a 35cm x 35cm cushion cover. Pick a plain coordinating fabric for the back of this simple envelope cover. Cut your Nancy Straughan piece of fabric to 38cm squared, and then the two pieces from your backing fabric at 38cm x 31cm and 38cm x 20cm. It helps to make a template from paper (brown or wrapping paper is best) and then pin your fabric to the paper and cut out. Sew a seam along one of the long edges of both of the backing pieces (ideally on a sewing machine) which will be the opening for the cover, then place the front and back pieces right sides facing together. Then sew around all four edges. Turn your cushion cover the right way out, and add a cushion pad!

fabric pennant diy

FABRIC PENNANT - Add some pattern to your walls with these mini fabric pennants, or make lots to create a garland. Simply cut out the flag shape from your fabric and sew a hem around each edge, leaving a channel along the top edge. You can use a thin piece of wooden dowling to feed through the channel, or simply thread through some string or twine to hang. 

That's just a few simple ideas for transforming your fabric square, but we'd LOVE to see what you do with yours! Please share pics via Instagram with the hashtag #91magXnancystraughan and we *may* award a prize to our favourite! 

If you haven't ordered your copy of our AW17 issue yet, then I'm afraid you have missed out on this little gift, but do check out Nancy's beautiful range of fabrics on her website and of course make sure to order your mag asap! ;) 

Thanks again to Nancy Straughan for providing 200 pieces of fabric as our gift to the first 200 pre-orders of 91 Magazine AW17. 

3 mini projects for using up fabric scraps

91 is pinning.... vignette styling

Whether it's a sideboard, a mantelpiece, shelving or a bed side table, all of these surfaces need some level of styling to make them look good, and they can often be the trickiest of spots to get right. When you scroll through Pinterest, a great vignette usually looks effortless, hence lulling you into a false sense of security that it will be simple, only to discover it's not as easy as you thought! So, we thought we'd unpick some of these Pinterest-perfect vignettes and find out exactly what it is that makes them work so well....

If in doubt, use plants. Nearly ever vignette on the whole of Pinterest has at least one house plant in it! And some have lots. If you go with a selection, then opt for plants of different heights, and make sure to put them in complimenting pots. 

Photo:  Cathy Pyle  for 91 Magazine

Photo: Cathy Pyle for 91 Magazine

Books are essential. This is why books will never die out. As well as the fact that reading something in print is much more superior, they are also an essential item for styling! Whether you use a few of your favourite lifestyle books or some of those gorgeous classics with the pretty covers, they are great for adding height to a display. Furthermore, dependent on the books, there's the potential for injecting colour and pattern into the vignette too. 

Photo via  SF Girl by Bay

Photo via SF Girl by Bay

Scale is of utmost importance. On a small bedside shelf like this, it cries out for small decorative items to adorn it. There is still a variation in scale here, but overall everything is quite petite. Trying to squeeze a large framed print, or a big plant pot on here would look hugely unbalanced. 

Photo:  Holly Marder

Consider the colour palette. A great colour palette is the secret to any great interior, let alone a great vignette! Keep this in mind when selecting the items you are going to display together. These natural earthy tones all work so well and also contrast with the sleeker green unit. But of course, have fun with it too, and feel free to throw in a pop of neon like in the bedroom shelf image above. 

Use artwork as a backdrop. Your vignette will look a bit flat without giving it a bit of depth, and one way to do this is by casually leaning a framed print or photograph against the wall, or hanging it (or them) just above. Mirrors are also a good option, or you can simply tape a few favourite postcards or pictures to the wall, and change them around as and when. 

Photo via  It's a House

Photo via It's a House

Trial and error is key. The best thing about creating vignettes is nothing is permanent. It's not a big decision like paint colours or choosing furniture, so just have fun with it and try different things. Play with scale, vary height, test out colour combinations, add things, take things away.... Try taking photos of different arrangements and then compare to see which works best visually. 

TOP TIP: A more minimal display will be much easier and less time consuming to clean than a overly cluttered surface! ;) 

For more inspiration for your vignette styling, pop over to the 91 Magazine Pinterest page

91 is pinning... styling with houseplants

It certainly doesn't look like the trend for houseplants is going away any time soon does it?! If anything, more and more of us just keep on growing ('scuse the pun!) our plant collections. It's more than just popping a few cacti on the windowsill and an aloe vera in the bathroom, we are creating actual indoor jungles inside our homes! They seem to have taken on an interior genre all of their own, with people hunting out the more unusual species, shopping for beautiful pots to display them in, and even learning new crafts, like macramé, just to be able to create gorgeous hanging planters. And of course how you style them is as important as how you care for them (naturally!) - so we've been pinning some interiors where they've got it just right with their plant styling. Head over to our Pinterest board for more inspiration. 

via  Airows

via Airows

Photo:  Katharine Peachey  - featured in A/W 16 issue of 91 Magazine

Photo: Katharine Peachey - featured in A/W 16 issue of 91 Magazine

MAKE: Shooting star printed cushion

As much as we LOVE to shop here at 91, we also enjoy making our own home accessories once in a while, especially if they turn out as beautifully as this cushion cover designed by Joy Jolliffe (owner of Random Retail). Thankfully Joy isn't keeping this one to herself, today she shares a tutorial for creating your very own version of this beauty for your sofa or dining chairs. Take it away Joy! 

The inspiration for this idea began with torn paper. The snowflake designs that we all made when we were children can be a good starting point for pattern ideas. I also have a small collection of vintage wooden set squares and it was their straight edges and triangular shapes that suggested the idea for a geometric design. Celtic designs and patterned tiles are also great inspiration for this type of look.

You will need: 

  • 2 pieces cartridge paper A2 size
  • 3 pieces lightweight card A2 size
  • Sheet of tracing paper
  • Cutting mat
  • Metal Ruler
  • Scalpel
  • Pencil
  • Mark and Erase Pen
  • Small sponge pieces
  • Printing inks
  • Masking Tape
  • Cushion cover or fabric to make own 40cm x 40cm
ShootingStarCushion_03_1200.jpg

1. Fold a square piece of paper (that measures the same size as your cushion cover) into quarters and draw your geometric design out as above left. Cut out carefully with a scalpel. Unfold the paper.

ShootingStarCushion_STEP2.jpg

2. Cut the paper into 4 quarters and then reassembled the pieces to make a different pattern. Use the pattern pieces as a guide and draw the shapes onto a large sheet of paper. I mirror imaged the shapes that had been sliced through the middle. I liked the star shape that had originally formed in the middle of the design and decided instead to add one to each quarter making the design more dynamic. (see below)

3. Next you need to decide which colours you will use and where. Keep it simple with two or three colours. By reverse tracing transfer each colour group onto three separate pieces of card and cut out each stencil ready for printing. It's important to cut small matching holes in the corner of each stencil - this gives you registration points to ensure the 2nd and 3rd stencils are positioned correctly.

** SPONGEING TECHNIQUE TIP ** For this design I used a sponge to transfer the ink onto the fabric. It’s a good idea to practice on a spare piece of fabric before starting on your cushion. Dab the sponge onto the ink and then dab off onto a clean part of the plate before applying the inked sponge to the stencil. That way you can build the colour gradually and avoid blobs and blots.

** PRINTING ON READY MADE CUSHION TIPS ** If you are printing onto a ready made cushion cover, arrange your design so that it avoids seams or zips/closures/overlaps. It’s always best to print onto a flat surface. Additionally, if using a ready made cushion cover, place a sheet of paper inside between the front and the back. This ensures ink doesn’t spread to the back during printing.

4. Tape your cushion cover or fabric onto a lightly padded surface. Tape the first stencil into position and using the Mark & Erase pen mark the 4 corner registration dots onto your fabric, then start spongeing on your ink.

5. When you have stencilled all of the 1st colour, remove the stencil carefully. Leave your fabric to dry, preferably in situ. Using your registration holes and marks, tape the 2nd stencil into place and apply the 2nd colour.

6. Repeat the last step with your 3rd colour to complete the design. Allow to dry, then either stitch your fabric to make up the cushion cover, or simply pop in a cushion pad if you used a ready made cover. 

ShootingStarCushion_15_1200.jpg

Design and tutorial by Joy Jolliffe of Random Retail. Find more of Joy's printing designs and techniques in her book Print it!

All photography by Holly Jolliffe

Style a woodland themed Easter table

Easter is nearly upon us, and if you are expecting guests then take the chance to get creative and really make your Easter table a sight to behold! Stylist Amanda Russell shows us how to decorate a woodland themed table with a collection of spring plants, a bit of moss and a few simple accessories... 

There’s no denying there is a big botanical trend going on just now. As nature accelerates out of the cold dark winter months, it certainly seems appropriate that we embrace it and celebrate it, by creating a wonderfully green and lush Easter table. The natural scheme is inspired by spring’s rebirth with buds popping, leaves unfurling and birds singing.

It’s time to make your interior sing too; bring the outside in, get up close, smell the flowers and emphasise the detail with this woodland theme. It’s a simple, eclectic look, which just needs a little preparation in advance, then style by layering up the rustic elements and items you already have around the home.

Make moss wrapped kokedama:

You can make these the day before from seasonal plants like pansies, primroses or ranunculuses. You will need moss from the garden or sourced from a florist, floristry wire and wire snips. Half an hour before you start, water the plants, then leave to drain. Green side down spread some moss out in a rectangle large enough to cover the plant pot. Take the plant out of the pot, pull off the loose soil, press the roots into a ball shape, and wrap the moss around the soil. Wind wire in all directions around the moss making a firm ball. Snip the wire and press the end into the moss ball.

Styling tips:

·      Dress up simple white ceramics by placing on rustic chopping boards, if you need extra, borrow from friends or family.

·      Save time and ironing energy, by choosing natural rumpled linen napkins or use tea towels if you don’t have napkins. (try H&M or Zara for a good selection of well priced textiles)

·      Mismatched vintage or contemporary ceramic candlesticks look great with ordinary white household candles.

·      Make rustic bread rolls special by wrapping with a collar of brown paper, held in place with twine.

·      Tie in your glassware by opting for green tumblers and jugs. (H&M is a good source of affordable glassware) 

·      Write your guests' names on simple luggage tags, then add a sprig of blossom.

·      Speckled chocolate eggs in decorative nests (try Waitrose, Tiger or online craft stores for these) scattered with feathers add authenticity to your woodland theme and also are a treat for your younger (and older!) guests.

·      For a last minute finishing touch, drape a few trails of ivy.

After your celebrations, give the kokedama a long drink, drain, then group around the house or in the garden. Better still, give your guests a parting gift of a moss wrapped kokedama plant to remind them of a perfect celebration.

Styling and design: Amanda Russell - amandarusselldesign.co.uk / soulfoodstudio.com

Photography: Antonia Attwood

How to style... your cuppa

As our A/W 16 issue may have suggested, we love a good cuppa here at 91! So much so, that a mug of the hot stuff often creeps into our Instagram feed, and inspired our current hashtag project #91magazine_aquietcuppa. We've loved seeing all your cuppa moments over on IG, and we are looking forward to selecting our faves to feature in the next issue of the magazine. If you haven't joined in yet, or need some inspiration then read on - we are sharing a few tips and ideas for styling your hot drinks, and in particular flat lays in their various forms....

Image by  Caroline Rowland

1.  Keep it natural - What normally accompanies your cup of tea or coffee? A good book or magazine? A snuggly blanket? a biscuit? Style your drink alongside the items that naturally go hand in hand. Yes, it may be meticulously styled and set up to get the right light, but you'll likely still enjoyed your tea under that snuggly blanket afterwards! 

Image via  5ftinf

Image via 5ftinf

2. Get Creative - This isn't your 'i just snapped this over breakfast' shot. It's fun, creative and eye-catching. It is almost the opposite theory to our first tip; it is unexpected and not generally an every day scene. Found, foraged or thrifted items work quite well for this type of shot - food, flowers, leaves, shells or vintage curio. Think about colour, pattern and positioning, and just get carried away with creating a mini work of art! Philippa Stanton's Instagram feed @5ftinf is a great example of this. (pic above) 

Image via  A Joyful Journey  

Image via A Joyful Journey 

3. Style a meal time - using food in your shots always works well, so incorporate it into your cuppa pics and create a breakfast, coffee break or afternoon tea scene. The easiest and most enjoyable way of doing this is to actually make your meal or break time this beautiful! Perhaps opt for a weekend morning when you have the time to clear the table of daily life admin, pop some blooms in a vase, and select some pretty food and crockery to include. Use a photo worthy surface or lay a tablecloth, then shoot your pics before your breakfast date tucks in! 

4. Make your props relevant - a photo styling tip that has stuck in my head for a long time is about making your props relevant. Whether it's a cup of tea or a product you are selling, selecting props that are actually used in it's production make the scene more authentic. Scatter tea leaves or coffee beans, incorporate (attractive) packaging and include other tea making paraphenalia such as the teapot, strainer, teaspoon and sugar cubes. Keep your eyes peeled for vintage, design-led or handmade versions of these objects which you can keep in your prop box.

Image via  Decor Dots

Image via Decor Dots

5. Embrace simplicity and negative space - You don't necessarily need to fill every inch of your frame; opting for a serene scene which takes advantage of negative space can be just as eye-catching. Play around with the composition to find the most pleasing arrangement, consider the object spacing and don't be afraid to allow your crop to cut through some of the props.

Image via  @helloemilie

Image via @helloemilie

6. Use foliage and flowers - I wonder what percentage of Instagram images ever posted include flowers or plants?! Well they just look so blinking great don't they?! Tea and flowers are definitely a combo that not many of us would turn down, so they inevitably pair well in pics too. There are so many ways to incorporate your greenery or blooms - lay a posy or single stem flat, or in a vase, scatter petals or allow foliage to creep into frame - simply play around to see what works best. Plants and flowers help to bring life to your images and soften hard surfaces, and generally help to prettify everything! 

Image via  @newdarlings

Image via @newdarlings

7. Include yourself - Another way to bring life to your images is to feature yourself! Don't worry if you are camera shy - I'm talking hands and (nicely pedicured!) feet - although of course seeing the faces behind IG accounts is always welcome! A hand stirring in the milk, or cradling your warm drink adds a human element to your images, plus you get to show off that lovely new nail colour you've discovered! 

Here is a little list of suggested props - you'll probably have most things around the home anyway, or you can keep a little box of items specifically for styling purposes: 

  • nice cups / teapots
  • books and magazines 
  • spectacles
  • lovely crockery and cutlery
  • scissors
  • blankets
  • tea leaves / coffee beans
  • tea and coffee accessories - tea strainers, spoons etc
  • trays
  • candles
  • pretty food - cake, pastries, fruit, etc.
  • foraged items - foliage, pinecones, shells
  • plants / flowers 
  • thrifted items - vintage linen, old photos and postcards, crockery

We hope you might feel inspired to get involved in our hashtag project, and you may well see your image in our S/S 17 issue due out in May! If you'd like more cuppa eye candy, then pop over to our dedicated Pinterest board... 

#91magazine_myquietcuppa

91 is pinning... Spring time

March is here! The month when it officially starts to feel like winter is behind us for another year, and we feel optimism and excitement for leisurely evenings enjoying the extra light and warmth. It's at this time of year I feel a real sense of 'fresh start' - much more than I do at the beginning of the year. 

Spring flowers are definitely some of my favourites - delicate narcissus, simple tulips and papery ranunculuses are perfect for indoor displays, while camelias, magnolias and blossom are starting to bloom outdoors.

It feels so refreshing and invigorating to be able to fling open the windows and doors to the house and not feel an icy blast, but instead a soft breeze, dappled with the sound of bird song and children playing. 

Take your coffee into the garden, and sit quietly or have a potter and simply breath in the tranquility that a Spring afternoon can bring. The comfort that hearty winter food brings is replaced with the need for fresher, lighter meals - if you're lucky you may have some edible flowers in your garden, which make for a seriously pretty salad! 

And what could be better than an early evening bike ride, perhaps catching the sun setting on your return? Only improved by coming across a scene like this! 

What's your favourite thing about spring readers? We'd love to hear! Plus, pop over to our Pinterest page for more Spring inspiration

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. 

DSC_3054_700.jpg

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.