For those who love stationery as much as us you might like our little shortlist.
There are so many fantastic brands producing beautiful products designed to brighten your working day! Let's get to it!
We’ve featured Ola before on the blog being a tiny bit obsessed with their stunning patterns and quality stationery however this time we’re sharing something from their Christmas shop; the origami decoration kit. Whilst fantastic for Christmas they are quite frankly decorations we’ll probably display all year – especially as their homemade!
Using their signature patterned papers designed and Made In England you can make eight contemporary decorations.
Learning a new skill takes time and concentration. With this in mind they are great for this time of year with long dark evenings when you just need to stop and quieten your mind and become absorbed in something that will take you away from day to day life. We would recommend these for yourself or actually as a Christmas present as people may have the time to dedicate this time to a project over the holidays. We tackled it as a team of two and this definitely added to the enjoyment and sense of teamwork as we worked our way through the instructions.
The kit comprises of 48 x small patterned squares, 12 x large patterned squares and satin ribbon and is presented in a hand-finished box with the instructions of how to make them all.
Being novices at Origami it was exciting to undertake a new project but we have to be honest and say there were a few steps where we were completely foxed. Frustrating and funny at the same time those first ‘prototypes’ were definitely a challenge. However, the cheat sheet bit is that you get access to their exclusive step-by-step videos which show you how to do them and this always saved us when we had reached a dead end. A clever idea and great to have as a back up if you need it.
We could see how we improved in our accuracy as the gaps got tighter and the decorations got more crisp. It was rewarding, fun and a great way of being creative with some guidance. We’d definitely recommend these as a beautiful present for someone with a love of paper to create their own bespoke decorations made by hand with paper made in England. What’s not to love?
For transparency we were sent the origami decorations as a challenge to make them as part of this feature!
If you’re on Instagram then we’re pretty sure you will have heard of ‘Bloom & Wild flower delivery’. We love this brand for their quirky take on bringing postable greenery into our homes in the forms of seasonal flowers, wreaths and even, well, Christmas trees! Each of the above arrives in a narrow slim box which easily fits through a standard letterbox.
First up this year is ‘The Drew’ which arrives with a collapsable pot, moss and ribbon. You can choose what decorations you’d like it to come with for a little extra sparkle – be that baubles, fairy lights, deluxe beauty treats (yes really!), robins or jingle bells.
We couldn’t resist the stunning reflective hues of the mini baubles and fairy lights so this was our combo to get started with for a design-led looking mini tree in our kitchen.
Kitchens can be tricky spaces for bringing festive cheer to as there’s the safety issue of adding flammable materials to a kitchen as well as the practicality issue of lots of ornaments and banners precariously taped or balanced. The idea of a mini tree which could sit on the worktop, be easily moved and watered once a week seemed perfect. The fairy lights are battery operated making it a really easy portable tree.
For our kids room we wanted something fun which they could embellish to really make it their own. We opted for ‘The Jack’ with its colourful string of festive jingle bells and fairy lights which when initially decorated by our three year old looked like this:
And was later embellished with lego to look like this..
The great thing about these mini trees is you can move them around their room to set up different festive scenes (sometimes it is also ceremoniously walked to the playroom with new embellishments added). It becomes a living breathing part of Christmas the kids can enjoy looking after.
You might have clocked our first review of a mini-tree last year (if not you can read it here) and we just wanted to update you that we potted it up last year and it’s been very happy. We’ve added a few of the baubles from last year as a welcome by our front door! Once Christmas is over pot yours up and help the little fella grow so you’ve got a Christmas tree for years to come!
If you fancy your own tiny tree or want to surprise a loved one to get them in the festive mood (especially if they’ve only got a small space) then enjoy 10% off your first order by signing up to the Bloom & Wild newsletter (scroll to the bottom of their ‘Bloom & Wild flower delivery’ homepage to sign up).
For transparency we were sent these trees by Bloom & Wild for the purposes of photography and to share on the blog as part of our Christmas series. We’re huge fans of the minimal packaging, clever seasonal designs and practicality they bring to the flower delivery market!
Roxwell Press is well known for their beautiful illustrative work and each year release their Christmas Shop but this year they’ve developed some beautiful glass hand-painted baubles which we wanted to share…
With a mix of gold and a pastel palette of white, green and pink – they’re unexpectedly festive without the regimental red, green and white which Christmas seems to have become. The fluid edges of the paint work with the reflective shimmer of the colours and these baubles really have a great design edge for an informal but bright look.
You can buy the baubles as a set of 4 for £20 and they’re a good idea as a gift or frankly just for yourself! The forth bauble is clear and gold (not featured here) but it looks stunning and you can take a peek here.
These particular baubles are hand-painted which makes them all slightly different and are about 6cm in diameter which makes them really practical to either hang on the tree or make part of a separate decoration.
We hope these photographs have got you in the festive mood and we’d love to see photographs of the ornaments you treasure at Christmas. There’s something magical about bringing the Christmas box down from the loft and rediscovering all these beautiful handmade treasures year after year!
You can currently get FREE DELIVERY on all orders at Roxwell Press so take a look at the Christmas shop here.
Please note we were kindly sent these baubles to photograph and share in this feature.
The busiest time of year? Get a diary which is going to work as hard as you in 2017!
With just 4 Sundays left before Christmas we’re starting our Christmas recommendations here at ecomodernstudios starting with Hello Marilu.
Hello Marilu is a creative lifestyle brand with a strong focus on handmade. Created by Mary-Ann Aveline in 2015, Hello Marilu offers an eclectic range of textiles and paper goods that have all been designed, handmade or hand finished in her South London studio, using a variety of techniques such as screen printing, marbling and painting.
We put in a 12-bauble strong order as her hand-painted ceramics are just the sort of one-of-a-kind heirlooms that are treasured on the tree year after year (as well as perfect for thoughtful gifts for those who have ‘everything’). Intrigued about what drove Hello Marilu in its first year of business we sat down with a cuppa to find out more about what makes this British brand tick.
In a time when we’re so technologically advanced why do you think there’s been such a strong comeback of handmade with brands such as notonthehighstreet, Folksy and etsy championing the individual?
There is no doubt that technology is great; I can’t imagine living without my iPhone now, or the internet, but its is also kind of sad how much it dominates our lives. You might be working all day on a computer only to go home and spend half your evening checking social media or watching TV. Its addictive, and almost a bit overwhelming at times.
I think its this technology overload which is actually encouraging people to want to take up new hobbies, such as hand made crafts, or learning a new skill at a creative workshop. Being able to physically make something can feel so satisfying. There is a sense of achievement, something real that you can feel and touch, and it focuses your mind in a totally different way, almost like a meditation. The result is a finished product which you can feel proud of and that’s a good feeling.
The great thing about technology however is how it can help support and grow your handmade business. Years ago it would have been very difficult to know how to sell your handmade products or get any recognition, but with websites like notonthehighstreet, Etsy and Folksy, almost anyone can get their work out there.
It makes handmade products accessible to everyone and it also shows that it is possible to sell your own work – something which would otherwise feel very daunting. People that buy handmade are looking for something a bit different – something personal, unique, and original. It can be hard to know where to buy those things on the highstreet so websites that showcase products from independent designers are a wonderful source for both the buyer and the seller.
Creative workshops also really seem to be on the rise which is fantastic. Its lovely to learn a new skill and try something you never would have thought of before, whilst meeting other fellow creatives. There are some really unusual ones out there too. Earlier this year I went to a spoon carving workshop by Grain and Knot, which is something I probably never would have had the opportunity to try had there not been a workshop available!
Your work is bright, bold and playful with pops of neon and gold! What inspirations have you had in 2016 which has helped shape your brand and what are you looking towards in 2017?
I have always loved bright colours, neon red in particular and of course gold. I find colours like that can transform a simple design into something really eye catching. I tend to be inspired by so many different things – almost everyday a new idea pops into my head, or I see a new technique which I want to try. I am very curious with wanting to try different techniques and I have a long list which I need to work through!
It was Screen Printing however which really led me to start Hello Marilu and it is something that I always love to go back to in between other crafts. I recently discovered through trial and error how to screen print with gold foil. I was so pleased that I could finally get it to work, and I now have quite a few gold foil print ideas in the pipeline.
I also love how working on one idea can organically lead you on to something else. I am really enjoying hand painting my ceramic Christmas baubles at the moment and I now to want to decorate other ceramic items such as plant pots and coasters.
I would love to try the Japanese technique Kintsugi. If you are not familiar with it, its basically an ancient Japanese technique of repairing broken or cracked objects using gold. Rather than trying to hide the damage you make it a feature by highlighting it with gold. It is really quite beautiful, looks amazing on ceramics, and of course its using gold, one of my favourite colours, so I’ve just got to try it!
What is the product you’re most proud of from your collection and why?
My hand painted Christmas baubles are getting a lot of attention at the moment, which is great in the run up to Christmas. It feels very special to personalise a bauble for someone, knowing that gift will hopefully be cherished by the recipient for years to come.
I love the build up to Christmas and decorating the tree is my all time favourite thing, so it makes me feel very happy to know that my baubles will be decorating other peoples trees too. The hand painted design which I use was inspired by traditional Russian folk illustrations. My mum is Russian so I grew up surrounded by beautifully painted Russian figurines and matryoshka’s. I have always wanted to use this inspiration for a project of my own so working on my hand painted baubles holds a special place in my heart as they are inspired by things which are very dear to me.
There is a really strong creative community online in the UK. What social media accounts do you really love following and why?
The online creative community is amazing. Websites like Pinterest really help for inspiration and finding new craft techniques that I would love to try, and Instagram is just incredible for building your business and seeing what other like minded creative people are doing. I love how supportive the Instagram community is.
Its so encouraging when you post a picture and receive such lovely comments and likes from people that you have never even met before. Its amazing how it can bring people together from all over the world! Instagram is definitely my favourite social media outlet and I think i would be a bit lost without it. It was a huge inspiration to starting my own business because it made me realise so many people were following their passions, and that I could do that too.
Some of my favourite Instagram accounts to follow are @ohjoy for lovely bright colours and DIY posts. Her account is always so cheery – its a great happiness fix and it just puts you in a good mood! Jewellery maker @benumade is another favourite. She makes the most amazing, quirky leather jewellery. Her designs are so unique, I find them really inspiring. They make me want to work with leather. I also love @elizabethpawle. Her woven and hand stitched art pieces have so much depth and texture to them, you just want to reach out and touch them, and they incorporate some of my favourite neon colours which is always a winner!
If you’d like to meet Mary-Anne and have a go at your own designs at a Bauble Decorating Workshop then you’re too late to catch her at Anthropologie (sold out) but if you’re quick you can get a place at her workshops at West Elm on 24th November (only 2 places left!) or 8th December (only 4 places left!). Price £20.
Great British heritage…
Volpe and Volpe was born from founder Trish Scorgie’s passion for ceramics and Britain’s golden age of manufacturing. She started a collection of vintage ceramic swan vases from trawling second hand shops and felt she could update them in more contemporary colours using British manufacturing – most notably in the traditional heartland of British ceramics, Stoke on Trent.
Trish took the leap and in 2012 Volpe and Volpe won Best Newcomer at the East London Design Show 2012 leading to the swans being stocked by influential boutique stores, from super-stylist Emily Chalmers’ shop Caravan to Britain’s most famous collector, Paul Smith and cult online homewares emporium Rockett St George. This list goes on to include Florists Scarlet & Violet, Rebel Rebel and Wild at Hearts Nikki Tibbles dressing the swans for the Cover of Living Etc.
We’re big fan of animals in England and of products made with personality, heart and using our homegrown talent. Through Trish’s research and collaborations each new product is based around her collectors eye for quality, provenance and craftmanship and the new range entitled ‘The Last Series’ does just this. It’s a collaboration with renowned ceramic artist Robert Dawson and comprises of six preservation plates featuring 6 animals , 3 under conservations (bat, cuckoo, hedgehog) and 3 earmarked for Rewilding (wolf, beaver and Lynx).
Rewilding has been gathering momentum for some time now but it was the appearance of Beavers in the River Otter and the campaign to allow them to stay that bought things into the spotlight, Wolves and the Lynx are being considered for rewilding within the next 25 years.
Combining florals and natural history prints the plates make a beautiful gift for animal lovers and fans of conservation or rewilding AND each plate donates 5% to the respective Charity. So whilst you’re eating Christmas dinner you could be helping our green and pleasant land recover some of what makes it so special whilst also helping to preserve our UK manufacturing industries!
Old Harry is named after the rock stack which stands at the end of Studland Bay in Poole. The rocks are the namesake of an infamous local pirate called Harry Paye who was famous for adventure and plunder on the high-seas.
The ethos of this brand is ‘We are big believers in doing one thing and doing it right’ and this British knitwear brand talks the talk with 100% high-quality cotton designed in Britain which includes the coordinates of Old Harry’s namesake featured on the nape! It’s nice to support British companies inspired by the sea… and surely we should be being an island?
These soft unisex jumpers come in six different sizes in cream, navy, black, grey and dark grey with the five-guage fisherman’s knit so they’re perfect if you want to gift it to your boyfriend and then reclaim back (it’s always better that way isn’t it!).
So, this isn’t a call to ditch those Christmas jumpers (they are still as hilarious as they’ve ever been) but maybe to gift one with longevity in mind. One that’ll get better with age and warm your loved one as they do that painful stagger across the beach from a brave but chilly swim or on one of those days you wrap up and brave the weather for a blustery cliff top walk. A good jumper is worth it’s weight in salt! (sea salt that is)…
For every jumper sold the brand donates £1 to the National Trust who help protect the Jurassic Coast where Old Harry sits: www.oldharry.com