Monday, 29 July 2013

The Call of the Festival..

Every summer of our childhood involved a festival. It was part of the holidays, the best kind of camping, in a countryside spot full of music, food, flags, big tops, theatre, and endless play and celebration. It was the place to meet other children (I made a new penpal each summer) and revel in the relaxed and happy grown-ups who relinquished routine and forgot the bedtime hour.  The evening rolling into nighttime was a favourite moment of mine, cosying into big jumpers and seeing the festival all lit up like a magical wonderland.

It's therefore to be expected that now with children of our own, each summer we feel the call of the festival, a pull that we can't resist.  It's with pure excitement in our bohemian bones that we gather and prepare for festival time and let the children discover a new freedom and new experience.

This year, Camp Bestival is our destination, and we are bringing the Sisters Guild Boutique, which makes it even more exciting.

Come by and see us if you're there.


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

How To Throw A Perfect picnic

A laying-in-the-sunshine-all-day picnic. Its the most laid back loosest of gatherings with friends and family and one that says in no better style Summer Is Here. And, though a simple blanket will do, when it comes to picnics we like to go all out, creating a welcoming area or 'camp' that says this is our adventure for the day.  So, if you want to take your picnic to the next level here's our top tips and ideas to get you picnicking beyond the magnificent this summer.

Set the Mood

*Finding a space - be it your back garden or the wilds of the lush long grass down a winding lane in the countryside, the wide open space of your local park or a little roof terrace there's a space just waiting for a picnic,  easily executed with some bright melamine and colourful accessories and a few simple touches.

*Be sure to create a shaded area, find a tree,  sleeping babies can stay cool, and if the sun get's too much for the children they can loll around in their undercover space.

* Bring piles of cushions and blankets and throws and spread out - it says we have no time constraint and thats what a picnic is all about; a day well spent lazing in the sunshine.

* make it a BYO blanket. No-one likes a grass stained bum and the bigger the spread of blankets the better and friends are more likely to laze around and feel comfortable.

* Simple touches like rolling all your cutlery into a napkin and tying with a ribbon are such small and easy things to do but make an impact as well as making it easier to pack.

*bottles wrapped in tea towels or napkins make them easy to carry and great to bring as a guest.

* bring out the bunting - it's instantly hung and adds so much colour to the day. besides, lying back and watching it flap in the breeze is beautiful.

*be colourful - hang honeycomb tissue paper balls from wherever they can be hung

*light the way - bring candles and votives, if permitted, so the picnic can continue into dusk

*a radio or iphone and speakers - though not a must, always keeps the mood playful

*make a phone pot - have everyone put their iPhones and blackberry's into a basket. All your friends are here anyway why have anything else intrude.

*if you're in your garden take advantage of prolonging the evening after the sun has set. Light a fire and let the conversation spark around the flames. Its a beautiful way for children to fall asleep cuddled up in warm blankets with the sounds of gentle voices under the night sky.

*be sure to bring extra blankets for warmth though it may get cooler there's no need to head inside.

and if you or someone you know plays guitar - bring it and bring them!

Feed the soul -

Though sometimes a simple picnic during a lunch break or a quick impromptu catch up with friends in the park may not require much food when it comes to picnics we say make it a feast.  A feast for the belly and the soul.

*The more food the better. Not only will there be a big feast with enough food for friends and family to be blissfully content and full, but also enough to pick on for the rest of the day. This is more true when you have kids because they'll want to pick throughout the day, in-between all their running around and playing.

*Have food ready to pick at that doesn't require being hot or cold to be eaten. Delicious crusty bread and cheese is great as is fruit, dips and vegetables cut into strips. Quiches, wraps, cold meats, savoury tarts, rice salads, bean salads, couches salads are all great winners too.

*Individual salad servings prepared in jam jars are great and much easier to eat from than the plate. Great too for shaking up with some salad dressing. Attach a fork to the side with an elastic for ready to eat yumminess.

*Jam jars rock a picnic - filled with salad, desserts ready made, used as beakers for cold drinks, which can easily have lids put on to prevent bugs making a beeline for them or prevent kids spilling them, and later for holding all those flowers that the children or maybe a doting partner will bring back to you - picked from the hedgerows.

*a chopping board and knife is an essential - the chopping board can double up as a serving platter too.

*forget ice packs think packs of ice. Keep things cool using packs of ice in your cooler bag and then you'll have the ice for serving drinks, keeping bottles cool, nursing those bumps you may get playing the three legged race as well as washing sticky hands once dessert is over.

*Bring serving platters - food prepared and carried in melamine tupperware can easily be poured onto a serving platter and poured back in to stay fresh once the feast is over,

*colanders are great for holding and serving a huge selection of fresh berries and are easy to be passed around.

*dont' be tempted to use plastic throw away plates and cutlery, your food deserves better than that and in a throw-away world we need to be a little more conscious of our environment. Instead opt for melamine; practical and fun. Food just looks and tastes better when eaten of colourful picnic pieces.

* Fancy lemonade - splurge, it tastes of summer and is worth every pretty penny, unless of course you make your own which, of course, nothing can better.

* cucumber sandwiches - I can never refuse one, theres nothing more British and it tastes of childhood.

* salt n pepper - use miniature jam jars with minute holes tapped through for salt n pepper.

*quiche's are great they can be eaten at any temperature and are sure to be filling.

*dips - everybody loves them

*repurpose egg cartons for food sharing, hard boiled eggs with their lids taken off, asparagus dips, or even sweet treats disguised and ready to shared.

*oh so sweet - when it comes to dessert go old school, a crumble will be delicious, especially if you can manage to keep some cream cool. Fresh berries always go down treat, whatever you bring be sure it can withstand a hot afternoon covered up. Bite sized nibbles are great such as biscuits, muffins, brownies, slices and best of all chocolate crispy cakes which are simple to make and taste of children's parties and memories of first cooking with mama.

*Ah.... tea. A flask of tea will be truly scrumptious but if you forget about it or it get's too cold - just add a slice of lemon and some ice, as though it was intended that way.

*don't forget the bottle openers, corkscrews and napkins, and of course plastic bags for carrying your rubbish home.

kids love -

Remember that kids like to keep busy, if you want to avoid your children begging you to hit the playground then be sure to bring your own playground with you.

*Games can be simple to make with as little as a ball of string, but hula hoops, bubbles, skipping ropes, balls, frisbees and hopscotch will keep them busy whole day.

*bring water balloons and wooden spoons to double up the fun - you'll quickly have a game of egg and spoon with the balloons as well as some cooling down with water bombs

*If you've got empty picnic baskets then setting up ball games will be easy with teams trying to score in each others goals, simple great fun,

*a picnic isn't complete without some daisy chain making

*and a tea towel or napkin can easily transform into a three legged race.

*putting aside a few nibbles into small bento boxes or melamine containers for a later snack will go down a treat, feeling like a whole fresh new picnic later in the afternoon.

* wooden BBQ skewers are great for encouraging kids to eat a fun selection of fruit, letting them make their own fruit kebabs. Equally lollypop sticks are great for sticking slices of water melon onto and making your own fresh fruit lollies.

you'll discover plenty of ideas for play here.

Our Favourite Picnic Pieces -

We're crazy about picnics and parties and you'll always discover all our favourite things here.

My 2 essential easy picnic recipes

 How do you rock your picnics?

Friday, 5 July 2013

Happy Home

Happy Home - Everyday Magic for a Colourful Life

Happy Home is a visual treat celebrating the Rice ethos and a feast of colour with the words LIVE LOVE LAUGH at its heart. These three small words are the cornerstone of Rice Dk which like the companies name that comes from an essential basic item vital to survival, they are three great words to live by summing up what is important and what life is about.

This is the backbone of Rice DK, a colourful life made for living. This ethos carries through the beautifully curated and cleverly written book. With images from Charlottes own home and many more of all shapes and sizes from a contemporary Copenhagen apartment to a country retreat and covering every room in the house its full of endless inspiration, tricks, tips and advice on how to bring colour into your home. Whether colour is something you celebrate or something that scares you this is an explosion of ideas in hardback that will set your heart racing. But don't be fooled into thinking this is for the already colour happy if you prefer a more neutral palette the book is full of tips showing you can introduce little pops of colour too and still keep that neutral feel. It is the approachable, liveable and loveable style that makes this book such a great success capturing both the heart and a true passion for life, where every page says welcome.

From the first turn of the page you'll want to live in each room, to absorb the tips, craft ideas and advice showing how you too can achieve a home that provides such a strong feeling of warmth, of welcome, of happiness that can be lived everyday.  With a spirit of playfulness and fun and an infectious energy the book shoes how the basics of everyday life can be enlivened with your own personality, with colour and fun. With a if you've got it flaunt it attitude It'll have you jumping from your chair to rearrange your kitchen cupboards , to mix your antiques with bold contemporary touches, to play with colour and pictures on walls or simply adding a colourful throw to a bed that will add a new vibrant perspective to the room.

Clever combinations and serene styling fill the chapters, each dedicated to a different area of the home with living spaces, kitchens and dining areas, bedrooms and bathrooms, children's rooms and even outdoor areas all given the Rice treatment. Encouraging the home to reflect what you love, who you are and how you live your life Charlotte gives something with this book that many can. Approaching colour in her fearless fashion Charlottes path of decor is infectious. Turning the ordinary to magic.

Creating influential home wares since 1998, with their ethically sourced collections now world renown I can think of no one better tha Rice DK with its magic and colour, to bring to the world of interiors a book on how to grasp some of that magic for yourself.

"Sprinkle a little everyday magic throughout your home. You will be surprised by the positive impact."
 - Charlotte

Happy decorating

A Special Treat for a Happy Home

In celebration of Happy Home by Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau founder of Rice DK we are giving a 25% discount code with the first 20 books sold to be used against all Rice DK pieces. With such inspiring images and practical advise along with hundreds of decorating tips you may just want to add some of that colourful, comfortable, practical and pretty, fun and funky and downright happy into your own space.

this offer is valid only while stocks last 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Circus is Here!

There's a lot of scurrying excitement at Sisters Guild headquarters today as the circus tent arrives. 
The clowns have been rehearsing, the ballerina is ready and the strongman has been eating all his greens in anticipation of the big top arrival, and finally they can put on their show.
Today we will be sending the circus to all those who have pre-ordered and for those who've not yet done so more have been added and are waiting in eager anticipation.

Let the show commence...

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Vintage Alphabet & Bookplate Printables

I just love these rhyming alphabet printables and whats more they're free. Such beautiful colours and details and put up on the wall next to a childs bed they can become a bedtime story helping children to learn and recognise their abc's. Go here to print off your free printable.

A little something for older children who already know their abc's and are on their way to reading their very own books and stories. These book plates will make them fell so proud of their library collection and make sure that borrowed books boomerang their way back to their rightful shelf.
Free printable here along with many more you'll love.

Happy Printing

Monday, 1 July 2013

Monday Makery - Stamps

Sometimes the days call for a little quiet, when the kids just want to sit still with their imaginations and today was one of those days. With a pack of erasers and a lino cutting set we created that very serene scene. Sitting at the table making up stories with ink and paper and designing new stamps as we went.

This is such an easy craft to make and once you've tried it you'll be hooked! With endless possibilities (can't wait to make some christmas designs) and ideas and at very little cost you can create stamps for scenes, for letterheads and cards and so much more. But better than that children will love to design their own and as rubbers are so cheap to buy they can have as many attempt as they like, creating as many scenes as their imaginations can think of as well as creating signature stamps for their greeting cards and letters.

here's what you'll need:
here's how:
  1. Draw your design in pencil onto the rubber. Once you're happy trace over the lines with a pen so that the outline is easy to see. You could also draw your design onto tracing paper and rub it on, this is especially good for children who may need more than one go to get the image to look how they imagined it to be.
  2. Using your cutting tool work your way around the image cutting out the areas you want to be blank and leaving only the image that you want to print
  3. dab onto your ink pad and print away.
We made a city scene at Oona's request which worked well because they were simple shapes to create at a first time attempt. Lots of the designs I wanted to make called for a larger rubber or at least a square one so I'll be on the look out for different shapes for more creations. My artwork might need some practise but nonetheless they were a great hit with both of the girls and added with the stamps we already have there are so many more possibilities which we'll appreciate on those quiet afternoons.

Thinking seasons ahead is such a huge part of my work and so I'm already thinking Christmas, imagining little trinket shaped stamps, stockings, baubles and snowflakes. At least I've got lots of time to get some practise in and perhaps good enough for stocking fillers and advent too.

happy making