• Archive for September, 2009

    Snuggle time

    by  • 30/09/2009 • Crafting • 0 Comments

    Every year, as the weather gets colder, I think that I really should have a go at patchwork. It’s something I’ve thought about for ages – after all, there’s nothing so country as a cosy, pieced bedcover. And as if to spur me on, I came across this beautiful example on C&T Publishing’s blog. The picture was taken in a wonderful country house called The Manor in Hemingford Grey, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Made famous as the house of Green Knowe by Lucy Boston in her series of 1950s children’s books, Lucy also left a legacy of over 20 remarkable examples of the art of English patchwork, which are available for viewing by appointment. If this isn’t inspiration enough, visit The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles’ website for groups and events in your area. Now I have no excuses!

     

    Quilt in the attic room where Tolly, the boy in the Green Knowe books, slept. All the quilts are pieced, appliquéd, and quilted by hand.

    Quilt in the attic room where Tolly, the boy in the Green Knowe books, slept. All the quilts are pieced, appliquéd, and quilted by hand.

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    New fabric and wallpaper collections

    by  • 29/09/2009 • Living, Out and About • 2 Comments

    Yesterday, was a whirlwind of inspiration as I viewed the new fabric and wallpaper collections from the leading interior design and fabric houses. First stop…Tricia Guild’s introduction to her 11 new collections at Designer’s Guild, King’s Road – I love her feel-good use of vibrant colour.

    Designer's Guild Cabochon weaves

    Designer's Guild Cabochon weaves

    Then across the road to see Nina Campebell’s new Swan Lake fabrics at Osborne & Little.

    Nina Campbell's Swan Lake

    Nina Campbell's Swan Lake

    Next stop was Chelsea Harbour – the destination for all leading fabric houses – where I absolutely fell in love with Sanderson’s Painter’s Garden…

    Sanderson's Painter's Garden

    Sanderson's Painter's Garden

    and the new Trade Routes wallpaper collection and Lanark weaves from Zoffany.

    I also stopped by to see the Cottage Garden Collection from Baker Lifestyle and rich and sumptuous fabrics from Mulberry.

    Baker Lifestyle's Country Garden

    Baker Lifestyle's Country Garden

    Finally I popped on the bus to Decorex – the interior designer’s trade show – where Andrew Martin, Little Greene Paint, Rapture & Wright were all launching lovely new things Sandberg’s horse wallpaper particularly caught my eye.

    You’ll see all these collections in the pages of Country Homes & Interiors over the coming months…

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    Free fitting on Brintons carpets

    by  • 25/09/2009 • Living • 1 Comment

    Are you thinking about a new carpet as the weather gets cooler? This offer came in too late to get into the magazine but I thought I would let you know about it here. Brintons, one of our favourite carpet comapnies, are offering Country Homes & Interiors readers an expert free fitting service  for a limited time only. Just download your  voucher at www.brintons.net/freefitting and take to it to your local participating store.

    Brintons carpet

    Brintons Brighton Rock and Bell Twist carpet as see in our October issue

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    Tomatoes

    by  • 24/09/2009 • Eating • 0 Comments

    These amazing tomatoes arrived on the doorstep yesterday from our neighbour, David, whose garden is always bursting with good things at this time of year. I love all their wibbly, wobbly, knobbly bits…

    Delicious tomatoes from David

    Delicious tomatoes from David

    I thought I would use them to have a go at making this Country Bread Salad that we featured in our September issue. Here’s the recipe…

    Country bread salad

    Country bread salad

    Serves 4

    Romano red peppers, cored and cut into small chunks

    10 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil

    150g ciabatta or other rustic country bread

    600g tomatoes

    ½ small red onion, sliced as thinly as possible

    Handful basil leaves

    Handful pitted black olives

    1 plump clove garlic, crushed

    4 to 5 tsps red wine vinegar

    Salt and pepper

    1 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Scatter the peppers in a roasting tin and drizzle with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes until soft and just beginning to colour. Tear the bread into small pieces and scatter over the peppers. Drizzle with another 2 tbsps of the oil and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until lightly toasted.

    2 Halve or quarter the tomatoes (depending on size) and scoop the seeds and pulp into a sieve set over a bowl. Press the pulp with the back of a spoon to squeeze out the juice (if the pulp is

    quite firm, whizz it in a food processor first so it’s easier to extract the juice). Discard the pulp.

    3 Toss together the roast peppers and bread, tomatoes, onion, basil and olives in a salad bowl. To make the dressing, whisk the tomato juice with the remaining oil, garlic and red wine vinegar, so the dressing is tangy but not too sharp. Season with salt and plenty

    of freshly ground black pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad about 15 minutes before serving. This will allow the dressing to soften the bread but not turn it completely soggy.

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    Blue sky days

    by  • 23/09/2009 • Living • 1 Comment

    The clear blue skies and fresh air of September always casts my mind back to the start of a new term – and the changing seasons mean that shops are full of lovely new accessories. 

    I enjoy reading Jane’s blog, Posy, where she describes her love of homemaking, crafting and all things vintage, plus recent tales of shuffling her children back to school and college. And in preparation for her return to work at a primary school in Devon, Jane has indulged her love of floral accessories with a pretty new Cath Kidston tote bag and cheerful polka-dot folders. At this time of year, who could resist? 

    Jane’s pretty new accessories, including a Folk Flowers tote bag from Cath Kidston.

    Jane’s latest buys include a Folk Flowers tote bag from Cath Kidston.

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    John Lewis in Cardiff

    by  • 22/09/2009 • Living, Out and About • 0 Comments

    I made a whistle-stop trip to Cardiff to have a sneak peek at the new John Lewis yesterday. Described as the ‘next generation’ of John Lewis stores, it includes new shopping concepts from an inspiring interior design customer area where you can take advantage of the free interior design service to a fantastic furniture department filled with to-die-for cushions and gorgeous bed linens. The grand opening of the new John Lewis Cardiff is on Thursday… people of Wales you are in for a real shopping treat!

    Cushions in gorgeous autumn/winter colours

    Cushions in gorgeous autumn/winter colours

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    Aga goes dotty

    by  • 18/09/2009 • Eating, Living • 6 Comments

    To mark their 300-year British heritage, AGA Rangemaster has collaborated with four well-known names to design limited edition cookers. Oliver Heath, Nick Nairn, Natasha Hamilton and Emma Bridgewater have come up with fun looks for this iconic cooker classic. My favourite is Emma’s polka dot design. Manufactured in Shropshire every new AGA is both 70% made from recycled materials and 70% future recyclable. 

    Emma Bridgewater's 'Polka Dot' Aga.

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    Bouquet keepsake

    by  • 17/09/2009 • Crafting • 1 Comment

    There’s nothing nicer than receiving a bouquet of flowers, it’s always such a shame they don’t last longer. Here’s a handy way to make those flowers say more, simply dry them out and turn them into a pretty arrangement. To dry them, keep them in the bouquet & hang upside down somewhere warm – I find the shed is best. Leave them for a few days, then simply prune the heads leaving a stem long enough to sit comfortably in some florists oasis. Choose a shape to work with – a heart works well – cover with flower heads then finish off with some pretty ribbon trim & a bow for hanging.

    Heres-one-we've-made

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    Fruit and veg galore

    by  • 16/09/2009 • Eating, Gardening • 0 Comments

    Harvest time isn’t far away now and garden societies all over the country are putting on produce shows. One of my favourite craft bloggers, needled, is also an allotment enthusiast and has taken some lovely pictures of her local show in Edinburgh. Just imagine the love and attention that’s gone into all this gorgeous produce…

    Apples and admiring visitors

    Apples and admiring visitors

     

    Perfect turnips

    Perfect turnips

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    Beautiful lighting

    by  • 15/09/2009 • Living • 0 Comments

    Why is good lighting so hard to find? In a recent survey, you told us that new lighting was one of your top three updates when refreshing a room (after paint and accessories). So at the recent opening of the new Chalon showroom in Tunbridge Wells I was delighted to see its stunning new range of lights. Utilitarian pendants, exquisite chandeliers, delicate scones – all made and designed by Chalon designers – and all perfect for the country home.

    The new Chalon lighting range

    The new Chalon lighting range

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