Five ways with: vintage and retro maps

April 24th, 2015

Maps aren’t just useful, they can be very attractive as well. Older maps in particular, with their thick, creamy paper, precise printing and delicate colouring, can make a lovely decorative addition to your home.

To find old maps, search online, visit charity shops or contact specialist dealers. More modern AA route maps from the 1950s and 60s aren’t expensive, and old school atlases often have some nice coloured illustrations. Here’s how to use your finds.

1. Map table

This one’s simple, but very visual. You’ll need a piece of furniture with a flat top, such as a coffee table, chest of drawers or sideboard. Then, just cut the map to fit. For a piece of furniture that’s not used much, you can glue the map down and paint it with a couple of coats of clear varnish.

Otherwise, fit a sheet of glass over the top – you can get this cut to size at hardware shops.

Use vintage maps to add interest to a piece of furniture

2. Map wallpaper

If you fancy covering an entire wall with maps as a feature, there are lots of ways to tackle it. A nice idea is to cover a child’s bedroom wall with maps of the world, so they can mark off holiday destinations/places of interest.

If the maps are going to stay there for years, consider covering the wall with perspex sheets to protect them – your child can then use a whiteboard marker to plan journeys, instead of map pins.

If you don’t want to use real maps, have a local printers produce colour photocopies to use as wallpaper.

Alternatively, visit Maps International – they produce printed map wallpaper in a range of different designs, including this quirky abstract London map, which measures 2.5m x 3.6m and costs £325. It’s self adhesive too, making it easy to install and remove.

Wallpaper based on a variety of map designs from Maps International

3. Map art

A simple and visual way of using maps in your home is to introduce them as artwork. This works best with maps that have some personal meaning, such as maps of your local area, childhood home, honeymoon destination or dream home.

Source the map, have a complementary-shaped mount cut and frame the result. These images also make lovely wedding or birthday presents for frames.

For inspiration, try these examples from Bombus and IN-SPACES.

Trio of vintage maps artwork from Bombus. Prices start at £85.

Map heart artword from IN-SPACES. Prices start from £45 framed.

4. Map textiles

If paper isn’t your thing, how about this map design fabric from John Lewis? At £18 a metre, it’s ideal for curtains, blinds, cushions, bed throws, lampshades and lots of other uses.

John Lewis map fabric, £18/metre

For more inspiration, have a look to see what sellers and crafters are making with map fabric on Etsy.

5. Map cards

If you’ve got any scraps of maps left after making other projects, a lovely way to use them up is by making greetings cards. Decide on a theme, and search online for a template. Strong, simple, recognisable silhouettes are best, such as animals, hearts, apples etc.

Print out the template and tape it over the map with some low-tack masking tape. Cut out the template and the map together, then glue the map shape to the front of a plain card. Take a look at this example from Bombus for ideas:

Polar bear greetings card from Bombus, was £4.50, now £3.60

By Sara Walker

Home décor trend: Pineapple crush

April 21st, 2015

Pineapple themed decor for your home

Oooh, I could crush a….pineapple!

Pineapples are hot in home décor, so why not incorporate some juicy pineapple designs in your home?

Aside from being a tasty, tropical fruit, the humble pineapple is thought to be a symbol of hospitality. As our homes are places where we welcome people, this is why the design is so popular in terms of home décor.

Here’s a selection of bright, funky and stylish products incorporating the distinctive pineapple design, from lamps and lights to cushions, wallpaper and worktop savers. For more ideas and discount codes for online shopping, check out VoucherBin.

Embrace the pineapple crush home trend

1. Bright pineapple cut out artwork, in various colours, £25 from Not On The High Street

2. Pineapple design pendant light shade in smoke, £14.99 from Homebase

3. Metallic effect pineapple embroidered cushion, £25 from M&S

4. Abigail Ahern / EDITION pineapple design lantern, £22.40 (was £28) at Debenhams

5. Timorous Beasties pineapple design wallpaper, £96 per roll from Wallpaperdirect

6. Puerto pineapple design table lamp, £49.50 from M&S

7. Pineapple glass worktop saver, £2.99 from Dunelm Mill

8. Champagne gold pineapple table lamp with a sable shade, £47.25 (was £75) at Laura Ashley

9. Linea pineapple shaped serveware, from £8 to £18 at House of Fraser

(Top image credit: Colour Brush/ Shutterstock)

***This is a collaborative post***

Top 5 Gardening Jobs for Spring

April 20th, 2015

Garden jobs for spring

The sun is finally shining, the temperature is getting warmer and you might already have spent a couple of nights dining al fresco on the patio.

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, then you may have noticed it has spontaneously started sprouting flowers, shrubs, vines and green leaves in all directions. The daffodils have bloomed, the bluebells are out, tulips are at their best and the peonies are fit to burst. The lawn might also be getting out of hand and the dreaded weeds may already be choking some of your beloved plants.

Here are the top five gardening jobs to focus on this spring, to keep your garden in check.

1. Jet wash the patio and decking

A jet washer is a worthwhile investment, particularly if you want to minimise the use of chemicals in your garden.

Sweep the area to get rid of obvious debris first, then blast your patio with water to remove more stubborn dirt. Once you’ve been over every inch, use the pressure washer to blast the dirt you’ve lifted towards drains and lawn.

If you have any areas where water pools, use a stiff sweeping brush to direct water away. Don’t forget your front yard could benefit from a good clean too!

2. Fix up your lawn

For a thick, healthy lawn, now is the time to replace bald patches and s0w grass seeds.

Give it a helping hand with an organic lawn fertiliser and then mow the lawn when it’s dry. This will ensure it stays lush, green and pleasant to walk on in bare feet later in the summer.

3. Weeding

Probably the job we least want to do, but it’s the most important task for maintaining a healthy, attractive garden.

Get in there quickly this spring before weeds have a chance to flower and distribute their seeds across the garden, making your job even harder next year.

Make sure you dig out the whole weed rather than snapping the top off or you’ll find it grows back just a week or so later.

4. Dust off the garden furniture and the BBQ

Now is the time to get your table, chairs, parasol, BBQ and fire pit out. Give everything a good clean and check it’s still in useable condition.

You’ll want to be ready for impromptu barbecues from here on in, so you can make the most of any unseasonably warm spring evenings.

Take it further and get some outdoor fairy lights or citronella candles to make your evenings in the garden magical.

5. Get some flower baskets

Spring is a great time to start getting some colourful, hanging baskets for the empty hooks in your garden.

However, these days there are all sorts of unusual and stylish planters you can use to decorate your garden with flowers. Head over to the Multiyork blog for some pretty, creative, planter ideas that will give your garden a unique look.

These tips cover the basics to keep your garden healthy and ticking over well into summer as well as making it a useable and inviting outdoor space for entertaining and relaxing with family and friends.

If you’re looking to go the extra mile, remember that birds and little animals, like hedgehogs, will be feeding their young at the moment, so investing in some feed, bird boxes and other products to help wildlife thrive in your garden, not only makes your garden a lovely environment for you to enjoy, it can help our feathered friends too!

(Top image credit: S R Lee / Shutterstock)

***This is a guest post*** 

Space-saving garden tool storage cabinet

April 16th, 2015

Space saving cabinet

Not got a garage or garden shed, but need somewhere to store tools? No problem, opt one of these useful garden storage cabinets instead.

The Suntime cabinet has been cleverly designed to provide essential storage space for all your garden tools and equipment that can’t be left outside overnight. The vertical design helps it take up less space and you can add a padlock to make it even more secure.

There are four roomy shelves inside which can be adjusted to accommodate taller tools and the divider enables each half to be opened separately. It’s perfect for using outside on a patio, garden or allotment, but it could work equally well positioned in a garage if you wish.

The Suntime cabinet is available in a choice of two colours, from John Lewis.

Fresh design cuts: Graham and Green Spring Clean sale

April 13th, 2015

Fresh design top sale picks from Graham and Green

Ahoy there bargain hunters!

Head thee over to the esteemed Graham and Green today for your last chance to snap up a bargain in their Spring Clean sale. They’ve got a fab range of homeware and furniture bargains available, from tables and lamps to storage and china. You’ve got until midnight tonight (Monday 13th April) to take advantage. Go forth and buy!

Here are some of our favourite sale buys:

Top row, from left to right:

Unleash your creative spirit, or handle your essential paperwork, using the Odyssey writing desk, now £374.85 (was £595)

Celebrate the animal world, with a handcrafted paper mache polar bear mount, now £56.07 (was £89)

Create a centre piece in your living room with this hardwood carved Dahlia coffee table, now £157.50 (was £350)

Middle row, from left to right:

Prop up your books in style with these resign Bertie dog bookends, now £39.06 (was £59)

Make the most of the space in a small kitchen using these stackable glass storage jars. A set of four is now £31.47 (was £49.95)

Serve your favourite hot tipple in a protractor design espresso set, now £8.98 (was £19.95)

Bottom row, from left to right:

Store your spaghetti, biscuits or other foods in these quirky ceramic owl storage jars. They’re now priced from £20.16 to £23.31 (they were £32 -£37)

Stash away your favourite trinkets and treasures, in a little secrets wooden storage box, now £11.94 (was £18.95)

Light up your desk or bedside table with a colourful Aleena brass lamp, now £49.77 (was £79)

Natural charm: 10 linen accessories for your home

April 11th, 2015

10 best natural linen home accessories

When it comes to home accessories, there’s nothing quite like natural linen for adding an individual touch. Made from the fibres of the flax plant rather than the cotton plant, linen is rougher, more open weave and less uniform than cotton, giving it a more textural feel that’s perfect for soft furnishings. We pick out ten of the best accessories to add the linen look to your home.

1. Linen lavender heart, Jonny’s Sister

Personalised linen lavender heart by Jonny’s Sister

A simple lavender heart, personalised and filled with lavender from Provence. Handmade in England, these hearts are made from 100 per cent Irish linen, and have a cream gros grain ribbon hanging loop and a mother of pearl button. Made to order, £18 from Jonny’s Sister.

2. Ribbon-trimmed linen drum lampshade, Isobel Stanley Design

Linen lampshade by Isabel Stanley Designs

This contemporary linen lampshade is trimmed with grosgrain ribbon, and is available in a range of different colours. Comes on its own, or you can order a lamp base separately. £40 for shade only, from Isabel Stanley Design.

3. Linen roll top bar stool, Sweetpea and Willow

Linen roll top bar stool by Sweenpea and Willow

We’re really hankering after this beautiful stool. Upholstered in beige linen fabric and complete with elegant aged brass studding that continues round the back, it would look perfect in a kitchen or garden room. £263 from Sweetpea and Willow.

4. Linen cushion with grey leaf design, Nutmeg and Sage

Leaf design grey linen cushion by Nutmeg and Sage

A luxury linen cushion handmade with a wool felt leaf design and finished in crocheted linen yarn, perfect for natural colour themes. It comes complete with a luxury feather cushion pad, and is available in a range of sizes and colourways. £76, available from Swanky Maison.

5. Linen box cushion, Fermoie

Grey linen box cushion by Fermoie

A box cushion, perfect as a seating pad – this has three dimensional structure to make an upright chair more comfortable. also available as a ‘conventional’ cushion in different sizes. £96, available from Fermoie.

6. Rustic linen cushion covers, Nkuku

Rustic linen cushion cover from Nkuku

For a more affordable linen look, we like these rustic linen cushion covers in blue and natural stripes with a button front. In a range of sizes, they’d look great on garden furniture or in a conservatory. Prices start from £19.99, covers only, from Nkuku.

7. Tumble bed linen, LOAF

Tumble linen/cotton blend bedding

This bedding looks like linen, but as it’s a blend it’s easy care as well, making it the best of both worlds. There’s a subtle stripe that will complement most colour schemes, and the set includes fitted sheets, duvet covers and pillow cases that can all be purchased separately. Prices start from £15 from LOAF.

8. Taupe linen cushion, the French Bedroom Company

Taupe linen cushion from the French Bedroom Company

Handmade from 100% pre-washed Indian linen with a concealed zip in taupe, this cushion makes the perfect accessory for your French bed or sofa, and the rough-cut edging gives the smart linen a relaxed finish. Available in two sizes, prices start at £35 from the French Bedroom Company.

9. Cream linen lace doorstop, Melody Maison

Cream linen and lace doorstop from Melody Maison

For a subtle touch of linen, try this doorstop finished in cream linen, with a crocheted lace band around the middle and a cream tie at the top. Was £12.95 from Melody Maison, now reduced to £9.95.

10. Red stripe linen cushion, Coastal Home

Red stripe linen cushion from Coastal Home

A French linen cushion with a sack cloth weave and a classic nautical stripe in a deep red and light oatmeal running through the centre of each side, this cushion comes complete with a duck feather inner and is handmade in the UK. £32.95 from Coastal Home.

By Sara Walker

(Top image courtesy of: Mliberra/Shutterstock)

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