Friday, 29 April 2011

An A-Z of Sisters Guild - I

 imaginative /ɪˈmaj(i)nətɪv/ adj 1 of or characterized by imagination. 2a creative. b resourceful; inventive. 3 given to imagining; having a lively imagination. 4 showing a command of imagery. 

Children are so creative and imaginative that they just bring you to life all over again.
Moira Kelly

The Art of Living: A Right Royal Knees-Up!

On Friday 29th April 2011 there will be street parties up and down the country:  trestle tables in long lines, everyone bringing out chairs, trays of sandwiches, cakes and urns of tea. Bunting will be stretched from houses, lamposts and trees. It's great that people can have a day off and a good excuse for a party!

The BBC reported that councils have received over 5500 requests for road closures.
There's a webiste dedicated to Street Parties - with everything you need to know to plan your street party. If you have missed the opportunity to have a street party this year there's always The Queens Diamond Jubilee in June 2012, with another very welcome Bank Holiday!

It brings out a certain 70's nostalgia.  I was too young to remember the Silver Jubilee celebrations but I do remember our village party for Charles & Diana's wedding in 1981. The playing fields and village hall were amass with colour and celebration.  I also remember standing in a long line of children to receive the Charles & Diana coin, which is the only Royal memorabilia that I own, though this week I have also ordered the  Royal Mail commemorative stamps of Prince William and Catherine Middleton (I do confess to my love of stamps!). Does that make me a Royalist?  I'm certainly very excited about watching the wedding on the telly.

I haven't been able to dig out our old photos, but I found this photo which is reminiscent of the village celebrations I remember:

Photo courtesy of North London News
Enjoy the party!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Wednesday Woo: Time for Tea, Cakes, Bunting & a Royal Parade

This Friday 29th April 2011 we will witness the marriage of Prince William & Kate Middleton. It is a significant moment in history and many people will mark it with a good old-fashioned 'knees-up.' 

To help you get into the mood for celebrating we have some fabulous bunting.  Bunting is the perfect party accessory - put it up and you will feel instant cheer. These fabric flag garlands can be used for many more future occasions.

Fabric Bunting by Rice DK, Was £25.30 Now £18.00
Fabric Flag Garland by Maileg, including a wooden storage box, £31

If you're going to be very British about things then a party has to involve some tea and cake. The little ones and the bears and dolls can get dressed up and join in too. For spring / summer 2011 Maileg have created this beautiful fabric tea set which includes a teapot, tea cups and plate in a lovely drawstring bag that doubles as the picnic blanket or tablecloth - how civilised! There is also a box of fabric patisserie cakes which are irresistible.

Maileg Tea Set in a picnic bag and Box of Fabric Patisserie Cakes

The Royal Party Parade Poster by the wonderful illustrator Mandy Sutcliffe is a perfect Royal Wedding souvenir that is tasteful and timeless.These limited edition posters have nearly sold out - be sure to grab one quick!
Royal Party Parade Poster by Belle & Boo, £25
Have a wonderful time with the extra long weekend and enjoy the pomp and splendour of the Royal Wedding! 

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Story Behind Our Collections - Love Mae

We always knew we wanted to include wall stickers in the Sisters Guild Boutique as they are such a unique way of decorating a room.  The Belle & Boo collection we discovered early on but we wished to expand the wall art category to include other designs.  As soon as we set our eyes on Love Mae it really was love...

The designs are charming and whimsical with such a beautiful colour palettte, colours that both of us sisters are drawn to.  Being girls that grew up in the countryside the nature and woodland themes speak to our childhood hearts.  One of my memories of my Father is of him painting a huge apple tree on the wall of our hallway - it used to attract quite a few raised eyebrows from people who came to our door. Of course our childhood bedroom walls were later full of sellotaped or blu-tacked posters and postcards ('pin-ups' ranging from Shakin Stevens to Fred Astair) plus stickers all over our bunk-beds that were impossible to remove!

What sets Love Mae wall stickers apart is that they are removeable, re-usable and interactive, so effectively they are a toy as well as art and decoration. We would've loved them as kids.  The Love Mae wall stickers have been rigorously tested by our very own children of toddler, pre-school and school age. We can tell you wholeheartedly that they are amazing - they add wonder to the childrens rooms and keep them busy - hurray!  Carla's girls are a little more delicate with them but my own destructive 3 year old boy has pulled them, scrunched them, stomped on them and proved that these are wall stickers that can take a good bashing!

The secret?....They are made of fabric. This is where the Love Mae wall decals are different to other vinyl decals you may have seen.  Love Mae say:
The fabric is a polyester weave with a water based adhesive which means they have no pvc’s, are bio degradable and are non toxic. The advanced water based adhesive allows them to be re-used over and over again so no need to throw them out when your little one pulls them off the wall... just re-apply them. The adhesive has other advantages... it is guaranteed to not harm your walls. So no more embarrassing and annoying moments with repairs to walls!

There are other positives about the Love Mae wall decals too. The Love Mae Ladies strive to do the very best they can do for the environment. All their packaging is recycled materials or recyclable and they use ‘eco’ inks where possible and the products are non-toxic.

Mae is the lovechild of three lovely ladies - Bec, Peta and Emily. They work in the Studio of Mae in the beautiful village of Stokers Siding, Northern NSW, Australia, where they are surrounded by trees, a creek and all sorts of animals. We are intrigued and hope to visit someday to share some tea and cake with them.

When the original collection of Love Mae wall decals was released it was an immediate hit worldwide. People couldn't believe that there were wall stickers that you can use hundreds of times over, stickers that won’t damage your walls. Love Mae add:  As incredible as this fabric revolution was... it’s our designs that people truly love. With soft colours and sweet patterns complimenting delightful subjects and themes such as classic woodland  and paper dolls. There is something to suit every home.

The other great thing about the Love Mae designs is that they are for grown-ups too.  The birds, trees and woodland creatures look stunning on the walls of a bedroom or living room, in a hallway or up the wall of a staircase.  In our home we have the birds perching on light switches and skirting boards too.  The dress-up dolls have proved popular with fashion students and the Dress-Up couple have some fun accessories that the grown-ups can be amused with at dinner parties. Because they are not permanent you can decorate your walls with confidence that no damage will be done.

We are planning to live in Paris for the second half of this year and the Love Mae wall decals will be the perfect way to make a new place our home for 6 months.  They will be easy to transport and will add some wonder to the walls of a plain apartment.

The Love Mae ladies have created a wonderful way to enhance our interior space with a design that is re-useable and interactive - we sincerely applaud them. We can tell these designs have been made in an inspiring environment and made with love...and it is with joy that we bring them to you in the boutique.

This is part of our series of blog posts about the Story Behind Our Collections.

We also bring you a Monday Makery with ideas for making your own things at home, and there's inspiration to be found on the Art of Living posts too.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Monday Makery - Kate & Wills Peg Dolls & Union Jack Flag

In the spirit of the Kate & Wills wedding excitement that is gripping most of the nation, of course we had to do a Royal Monday Makery.

Carla made some lovely Peg Dolls a while back.  Following this original Peg Dolls 'How to' I couldn't resist making a Wedding Day Kate & Will.  My 3 year old boy wasn't very interested in the Peg Doll making apart from being my glue dabber, so I set him up with an easier little project of his own - a Mosaic Union Jack flag made with lots of cut pieces of coloured paper.

Carla has a fantastic long kitchen table which is perfect for craft sessions and it kept us very busy on Easter Sunday (in between nibbling chocolate!)

Here's what you'll need for the Wedding Couple Peg Dolls:
  • good old fashioned clothes pegs
  • scraps of fabric, paper and napkins - kitchen roll was used to make the dress!
  • wool
  • PVA glue
  • felt tipped pens
  • scissors

    Making a Kate Middleton Peg Doll:
    1. Starting with the bare peg doll draw on the face with pens or pencils. 
    2. For the bodice of the wedding dress use a piece of cotton fabric or paper glued around the top of the peg doll.
    3. For Kate's dress I used a humble piece of kitchen towel but a paper doilly or other fabric would be lovely.  Make a circle and cut a line through to the centre. Make a wide cone by twisting the circle and sticking the 2 cut sides together.  If you snip the pointed end of the cone you then get a hole in which to put the peg doll through and glue at the 'waist' - hey presto the dress!
    4. For the hair wool is ideal.  Cut long lengths of wool and glue across the head. The wool hair can then be snipped and styled.  With extra glue dabbed on top you can pile up the hair on top into a loose bun style - not sure how Kate will be wearing her hair on the day!
    5. Extra things to add:  a white piece of wool for a hairband, a pink paper flower and a piece of lace at the waist.  
      Now she'll need a Prince...a future King no less!

      Making a Prince William Peg Doll
      1. Start in the same way, drawing on eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Hair can also be done with colouring pens or pencils which works well for men with less hair!
      2. The RAF uniform was made of blue paper.  Cut 2 rectangles to make 2 tubes that make the trousers - to be glued around each prong of the peg.  Cut another rectangular piece of paper for the jacket - wrap around the body and glue in place.  The detail of the uniform - pockets, collar and tie - can be added by pen.
      3. For the sash a piece of ribbon is ideal.
      Here they are - what a romantic pair!

      Mosaic Union Jack Flag

      Flag making is a simple craft that involves paper, scissors and glue.  To make it a bit more interesting I cut up the red and blue paper into lots of pieces to make the flag in a mosaic style.

      The only tricky bit was remembering how the flag is structured but google helped and we were able to read about the history of the flag too.

          This is part of our Monday Makery series of blog posts where we bring you craft ideas and recipes.

          If you have any inspiring ideas for a guest blog post please do contact us

          Sunday, 24 April 2011

          MADS 2011 Blog Awards

          We are so excited to be nominated in the MADS 2011 Blog Awards in the Best Small Business Blog category.

          The blogs who receive the most nominations in each category go forward to the final vote to win prizes.
           So, followers, if you'd like to nominate us we would be very grateful!

          To nominate go to the MADS 2011 page here and it will take you through to the form to nominate your favourite blogs in different categories - so you have a chance to nominate other blogs you love too.  We follow some fantastic ones that are linked on the left-hand side of this blog page.

          If you've stumbled on this page and you're not so familiar with our blog, let us show you around...
          Our blog is a celebration of the business we run, the things we do as mamas and all that we discover with our children.  It is also a celebration of other mums, bloggers, artists, designers and all the people that make our lives so full of wonder. 

          We have a Monday Makery that brings you crafts, recipes and ideas for making stuff! We have a Story Behind our Collections series which is an insight into why we've chosen things for our boutique.  There's a Wednesday Woo which selects pieces by different designers that we are currently excited about.  The Art of Living is all about people, places, books, art, events and celebrations...all the things that fill our lives and all the things that we are passionate about and would like to share with you.  Friday is all about photos that depict the A-Z of Sisters Guild

          We hope you enjoy discovering our blog and will be inspired to nominate us in the Small Business Blog Award here

          Thank You x

          Friday, 22 April 2011

          An A-Z of Sisters Guild - H

          home /hohm/ noun 1 the place where one lives permanently, esp with ones family, or as a member of a household. 2 a house, flat, apartment, etc. 3 the social unit constituted by a family of living together. 4 ones native region or country.
          home /hohm/ adv. 1 to or at the place where one lives. 2 to one's family or residence from somewhere else. 3 to one's ultimate objective
          home /hohm/ adj. 1a relating to one's home; domestic; home comforts. b taking place in the home. 2 denoting the headquarters or centre of operations. 3 said of a team player: belonging to the ground where a sporting fixture is held. 4 relating to or belonging to one's own country.
          home verb trans said of a bird or animal: to return to its base by means of instinct > to provide (a domestic pet) with a home.

          It is said that 'home is where the heart is' but a home is more than that. It is our sanctum, our place where we enjoy the company of family and chatter with friends. It is our one part of the world which we are free to embellish with our individual and unique style. We dress it with pieces we feel a connection to, we house galleries of childrens artwork and favourite memories in frames. Kitchens anticipate the apothecary of fashioning feasts. Silent sanctuarys that are our bedrooms whisper promises of sleep. We play, we peruse our libraries that are our shelves of old and new 'reads'. We have our cozy corners and our favourite spaces. Our home is where we express ourselves in ways that are secret to the outside world. It is where we celebrate our lives in its routine and occasion. A place where we feel the assured warmth of keeping our hearts inside. It is our base, our strongbox and our escape into the arms of what is ours, what is known.

          Thursday, 21 April 2011

          The Art of Living: Taschen's London, Paris, New York

          These Taschen books have been on my wishlist for some time and today I had the opportunity to peek at them in the Taschen Bookstore on the Duke of York Square, just off the Kings Road (right next to the Saatchi Gallery).  It was a very brief look inside, as I was with my sticky-lolly-hands-son and the two don't really mix!

          They have wonderful illustrations. I love how London is depicted with a baby-faced Jamie Oliver:

          Paris of course conjours up the glamour of the cafes and brasserie life:

          And New York...well, say no more, such an amazing city. I've only been there in the freezing cold for a January birthday many moons ago with Carla (who herself has been many times).  There's so much to see and do...and the shopping!  The Taschen book includes a map guide:

          Each book is a guide to the charming, modern and cool places to sleep, eat, drink and shop in the capital cities. All amazingly photographed:

          These books are large at 23.8 x 30.2 cm, so they are not meant to be pocket city guides. They are to have on your bookshelf at home to peruse, plan and dream.

          They are edited by Angelika Taschen who sounds like she has quite an amazing career:  She studied art history and German literature in Heidelberg, gaining her doctorate in 1986. Working for TASCHEN from 1987 to 2010, she has published numerous titles on art, architecture, photography, design, travel, and lifestyle.

          The books are available from Taschen here

          For more visual inspiration for interiors in different cities the Edition Paumes series of books are full of beautiful images - have a browse here

          This is part of our Art of Living posts that bring you all the things we are passionate about and the things we discover in our lives as mamas and beyond.

          If there's anything that you've discovered that inspires you - events, places, people, books etc - we welcome any guest blogs - please contact us via our contact page here

          Wednesday, 20 April 2011

          Wednesday Woo - Birdsong

          We are drawn to birds and all their winged beauty so it is inevitable that quite a few have ended up in the Sisters Guild Boutique - from clutch bags to candelabras.  Take a look at this chirpy flock by Rice DK:

          Velvet Bird Clutch bag by Rice DK - on sale was £34.30 now £21.00
          (On Love Mae Branches Wall Stickers)
          Peacock Coin Purses by Rice DK, £11.50
          Bird Candelabras by Rice DK, £44
          Velvet Tea Cosy by Rice DK, on sale was £38.00 now £24.50
          Velvet Floor Cushion in Green Dove Print by Rice DK, £69.50

          There's plenty of birds adorning the Clothkits collection too:

          Dove & Cherries Childs Pinny Kit in Pink or Jade by Clothkits, £19.00
          Dove & Cherries Doll Dress Kit in Pink or Jade by Clothkits, £10.00
          The Doll Kits are available here too

          Love Mae wall decals from Australia have a Twitters design in Retro or Girly colours which includes birds leaves and a rather charming owl.  These wall decals are a stunning way of decorating a nursery or bedroom wall and they are interactive too - to be played with time and time again.

          Love Mae Wall Decals - Girly, £35.00
          Love Mae Wall Decals - Retro, £35.00

          A beautiful way to bring the beauty of birds inside.

          This is part of our Wednesday Woo blog post series where we present a selection of things from the Sisters Guild Boutique.

          We also have a Monday Makery with ideas for things to make yourself.

          And our Art of Living post bring you all the things we are passionate about and the things we discover in our lives as mamas.