it's Sandra from VanSan

Please meet this super nice women from the Netherlands, Sandra. She is a true artist, mother of two and she has a fantastic home, which I'm so glad fully can show you today. Sandra is an interior designer but alos a very creative women who makes the most beautiful and unique bags. Her collection 2009 is just great and all bags are made from almost 100% recycled materials. Sandra not only takes our environnment into strong consideration when making the bags, she also gives a portion of her profits to good purpose :: YASAP Foundation, a project for the incorporation of women and children in West Timor! On her website you can find more information, but first enjoy the beautiful images made by her dear Simone from Siepsfabriek.
1.) What kind of house do you live, in what kind of area and with whom? And how long have you been living here … ?
Nine years ago Albert, my husband and I decided to leave our apartment in the city and we bought this old farmers house (1922) in Winsum. A quiet picturesque village in the most northern rural area of the Netherlands. Our house is near a canal where my daughters (Eva 13  and Silke 10 ) like to swim in summer. We had to do a lot of renovating, there wasn’t even central heating, but it has so much character. We have an old red-haired cat called Peer (meaning: good old chap) and 2 guinea pigs. And Pien, an adorable rabbit lives with us on a temporarily basis. All housemates are free to go where they like: they all were successfully potty-trained.
2.) Where is your workroom located in your home, do you have preset hours for working or do you just start when you have time and feel like it? Where do you buy your fabrics?
My studio is upstairs in our house. Actually it is the old renovated attic, to be reached by small steep stairs. I am in my workroom almost every day when the girls are at school. The work I do is a rather labour-intensive job and all the sewing, designing, publicity, the web shop and product photography is done by myself. As result of environmental consciousness I like to recycle curtains, clothes and bed linen etc. which I nose out in charity shops, flea markets and boot fairs. Bags that originate from donated material are named after the previous owner. So there is a ‘Greta’s curtain’ and a ‘Femke’s skirt’. Working alone at home is nice but also has its disadvantages. Private life and work become easily and distractively entangled. And I’m now starting to miss colleagues. That is the reason why I am on the doorstep of sharing workroom with other artists amongst whom is Simone. She is a photographer and she also made these open house pictures. We have plans to do designing projects together, to develop handmade products and start a (web) shop! It ‘s all premature but very exciting! I’ll keep you posted on this matter.
3. ) What kind of feel are you hoping people get when visiting your fantastic home?
I hope that visitors quickly feel at home and that our place is dashing. I love the weekends when friends hop in and stay overnight or for dinner. I’m used to spent time ‘cozifying’ the living room by changing cushion covers, collectibles or even repainting the wall. A girl friend always says: your house is like a small museum, there’s always something to spot and the atmosphere is always warm. Frankly I hope that visitors are in awe of the solutions and renovations we made.
4.) What kind of furniture do you like and where do you find them?
We obtained most of our furniture from family and friends who wanted to get rid of it. I like furniture with a story, although their histories are not always known because they’re also often found in flea markets. My latest finds were 2 euro a piece red cantina chairs, like Robin Day’s  Polyprop chairs from the 1960s. Some things are from IKEA and our dinner table is new and self-designed. I went to a saw-mill to pick out a tree stem for the table-top and friend Jack made the steel under-frame. Designs from the 60’s and 70’s are great! Unfortunately they’re very expensive most of the time, and I can’t seem to choose which one I like most, so I have to be very careful in what to buy.
5.) Can you tell us a bit more about your living room and what you think is very important in ‘a’ and your house?
Our living room is what used to be the Sunday room. It still has a mantelpiece, high windows with coloured glass skylights, a bed box and ornamented frames and lintels over panelled doors. I fell instantly for these details! Because I’m a disorderly person and always busy in my head, I at least try to keep the living tidy and neat. But not in a minimalistic way, that is not my fling. What I find most important in a interior is simply the fact that it has the atmosphere of the persons who live in it, whether it is vintage, modern or classical. But it shouldn’t be too tidy. One’s rubbish is one’s mirror.
6.) Does somebody in your family actually still wear the wooden shoes? Why do you love bright colors like the orange and lime so much in your house?
 Ah yes, the wooden shoes are mine! Those are still frequently worn by (mostly) men in the north of Holland and by me. They are quit comfortably actually and you can easily slip in and kick them off. Very convenient while I’m working in the garden. We have a cottage garden with holly-hocks, geranium, lavender etc. In summer when it can be rather hot in our south oriented garden then we like to sit under the foliage of the beech.  It is not particularly the lime and orange colours that I like most. Colours in general run through my life as a thread, they cement my memories and literally colour my life! When we first moved in we painted everything in whites. But gradually more colour was applied. Did you know that colours have hidden potency? Orange in a kitchen works appetizing. Which seems to work; we all look healthy so to speak, ha ha!
7.) Was the wallpaper in the bedroom already there or did you hang it there? What are the benefits of your home and what would you really like to have changed?
We hang the wallpaper there after renovating the back house. It used to be the workshop of the farmer and of the second resident, a carpenter. Now the back-kitchen, bathroom and the girls’ bedroom is situated here. I’m really happy with our rebuild bathroom, which gives a real spa feeling, due to a new geography and under floor heating! The biggest asset of our house is that it is on its own grounds. Although the attic bedrooms and workroom are very cosy and authentic, I miss a storage facility. And I would really like to have terrace doors for more contact with the garden and watching the birds.

8.) Who is the lucky person that sleeps in the ‘bedstee’ or ‘boxbed’? And what’s the story behind these vintage toys?
Albert and I slept in the bed box during rebuilding the house (the attic). Nowadays it serves as a retreat for reading or taking naps and cushion fights. Those vintage toys are Albert’s and mine. And there are some primary school artworks from our children. It’s all nostalgic display!
9. ) What do these little animals tell you?
These animals represent the past when kids used to play self invented stories and games. I feel like my heart is set on earlier days, not knowing which ones exactly. I love old-fashioned things like handicrafts, fabrics, utensils and maybe even the way of living from the past. Such as the way people stood in relation with nature and how they kept real face to face contact with each other. To me technological development is not always a positive progress. I am really concerned about how children use (im)personal computers, play solitary games on Nintendo’s and watch television for I don’t know how many hours a day and having to deal with all physical and emotional problems that come with (growing boredom, apathy, obese etc.). I try to keep my children away as much as possible from television and computers and encourage them to invent and create games and activities themselves.
10.) Your collection bags is fantastic, the combination of fabrics, trims and colors is really nice, how does an idea for a new bag starts and where do you sell them?
 Thank you! Starting-point for a new bag is either the fabric print itself or a detail from a trouser pocket for instance. These lines and shapes determine the pattern and atmosphere of a new bag. My newest collection consists of mostly plain fabrics on which I made a screen-print or stamp a print myself. Every bag has precise seam work and detailing and stands on its own as each is an original. The production experience is always fascinatingly different for me, like real deliveries, my babies. That sometimes makes it hard to sell them in my web shop and on nice art and crafty markets). I would love to have my products retailed in shops, but unfortunately that has not occurred yet. 

11.) whats up with little Heidi?
Do you know the story of Heidi who lives with her grandfather amongst her goats in the mountains? It is a romantic desire: I dream of being a shepherd and living in the fields and moors.
12.) Who sleeps here and made the little pompom?
This is the bedroom of Silke and Eva. They have been sleeping in the same room since they were babies. It won’t be long until they want a room for themselves. The pompom was by me. It’s such a nice old technique! I like to combine it with something funny like these plastic animals. This pompom is now dangling of my sister’s car window mirror. My sister is called Babe (by her boyfriend!) after the adorable piglet in the movie with the same name.
13. ) What do you look for when searching for new inspiration and what tools do you use for this?
I get my inspiration from my kids and their little toddler artworks and from Nature! I adore flowers, birds/animals and trees and love to photograph and draw them. I always have a little sketchbook with me for new ideas. You probably know the thumbnail sketches made while your on the phone. Those turn out to become prints in my work. For new inspiration and ideas I like to visit galleries and museums or I go walking in the countryside.
14.) Why did you decide to hang these little things on the wall, what do you like about them and why the beautiful green color on the wall?
 I like to hang things in unusual places and in unusual combinations. Like our ancient black and white family portraits in the toilet! How, where and what I hang is simply a matter of intuition; I look for balance in form and color. In my work as interior designer I also look for balance and opt for practical but esthetical solutions. The people who commission me are often hesitant of applying color. Paint is willing, I say, repainting the wall is much easier than letting your sofa be re-upholstered. The living room wall has the color of dark storm clouds. On the picture it looks green but sometimes it looks grey or even blue. That kind of colors, which make you ask yourself what you should call them, are the ones which interest me most and never bore me.
15.) How important is food and everything that comes with it for you and your family?
My family always has dinner together. I really love to cook Indonesian food only once in a while and use fresh ingredients like my favorite lime leaves and ginger. But frankly my husband is the cook. We all know that eating is at our basis of daily necessities. But in my opinion food differs from nutrition nowadays with food being overproduced and (genetic) manipulated and with sugar and additives added. Who can recall the taste of non-manipulated Brussels sprouts? Happily my mother has a kitchen-garden and she brings me boxes full with fine vegetables which were not treated with pesticides. I prefer to eat seasonal ingredients and buy regional produce from my own area. I believe that is healthier for your body and for the environment! 

Just a final question … who would you like to invite for your next dinner, can be anybody… and what would you make for him or her?
Oh that is hard! I would like to invite my deceased father and my grandparents and Gandhi, and Joni Mitchell, and …Well, we’ll have Indonesian for sure.

..Van San..
..Van San collection..
..Studio VanSan blog..
..Van San in english..

..images by Simone from Siepsfabriek..

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it's Nina from By Graziela

Please meet Nina Nagel, who is the daughter of Germany's famous textile designer Graziela Preiser and she and her mom recently the by Graziela label which brings back the legendary ‘1,2,3 design’ on bedding and interior accessories, soon to be followed by other unique and striking design classics which were hugely popular in the 1970’s in Germany and still are so beautiful today. I'm very happy to show you this House Tour with Nina and you can see yourself how fantastic the fabrics look in a nursery and at home.

1.) Can you tell us a bit more why you have decided to start re-producing the particular ‘1,2,3 design’ pattern? And what pattern would you really love to see next in a re-run?We decided on the 1,2,3 pattern to relaunch first as it combines the retro and the contemporary to us very well. It’s such a graphic pattern, we felt the big billed ducks and the retro owls have quite a timeless look about them. Also, we really liked the concept of the design a lot, that it’s not just a cheerful happy pattern but you can also entertain yourself by counting up all the little motifs (there’s no mistake I swear;-)

As to which pattern to relaunch next: A L L would be good! It’s such a hard decision but we’re getting some help: We’re running a prize draw on our website at the moment asking our customers which to relaunch next. It’s a great way for us to find out what everyone likes best, so the next design is still to be decided... Of course we do have a favourite one though...
3. ) In what kind of house do you live, where and with whom?
The flat we live in was an old forage warehouse for horses from 1870, later it was used as a spice warehouse in the later 20th century, so it has quite a lot of history which gives it a great atmosphere. I live with my husband, our 1-year old son and our 2 cats.
4.) How long have you been living here and what do you really like about your home?
We’ve been living in our flat for 8 years, so it really has grown with us from boyfriend-girlfriend space to family-home. It’s has a really nice balance between an open-plan contemporary space and a very cosy feel with architectural individual features. It just feels like home as it hosts so many good memories and artefacts from many years.
5.) How did you decide on the colors, furniture and style in your home? Where did you look for inspiration? We juxtaposed modern furniture and clear rather white lines with our love for collecting souvenirs and all sorts of animal sculptures from our travels, to achieve a fresh and eclectic style. I often look for inspiration to the way how I grew up. My parents also collected all sorts of ephemera. The house I grew up in has an almost museum-like feel with little collections everywhere but with a very strong interactive edge, ie everything was there to be played with, touched our used, nothing is in glass shrines which I think is a very fun and functional way of living in your home.
6.) I love this memo-board and the drawing, who made it and for what purpose?
Our flat still has quite a few remnants from its days of the warehouse, so we have this huge black metal sliding door which is magnetic. It just happened that over the years little special memories like drawings, little lovely notes, magnets from all over the place etc assembled there. When I was pregnant I still had time to be super organized so one day I drew up this list of all the things I thought we needed to get for the baby, a room thermometer (total nonsense I found) and ONLY 3 baby-vests which was quite optimistic, I quickly sent out my husband to buy several multi-packs day into baby-boy’s life!!
7.) What are your favorite items in your home and will always get a prominent place on on eof your shelves?? Oh, it’s very difficult to have a hierarchy, I would have to go for the wooden camel which we bought on a total disaster holiday in Tunesia, the photo of Peggy Guggenheim in Venice from an auction, the kitsch Svarovski Micky Mouse (still occasionally real Micky Mouse comics to relax) and the ‘Statue of Liberty NY sunglasses’ which get put on at every dinner-party...!
8.) Please tell us a bit more about the nursery and some of the beautiful objects? Where did you get the height chart?
The nursery is mainly inspired by my Mum’s designs. Having had an amazing childhood with my Mum’s imaginative designs, I want my kids to also grow up and be inspired by bold and happy elephants, ducks and ladybugs! The cheerful bed linen, wall organizer and cot bumper are all from byGraziela. We have two wall organizers in use, one which holds all the nappy changing essentials and one which acts more as Jakob’s personal organizer of all his favorite stuff. He still enjoys nappy changing as he adores pointing to the different animals (or pulling out a few nappies out of the pockets!)

The height chart was given to me by my husband this Valentine’s Day! It’s by the brilliant illustrator Rob Ryan. Other favorites include the woolly sheep (from Thorsten van Elten) which also doubles as a stool and my collection of vintage 1970’s cushions designed by my Mum (of course!).
9. ) If you could invite one very special person for dinner, who would that be… ?
I think it would quite simply be my husband, as I can never see enough of him!
10.) Is the little window in the white door for your cat? If so, what a clever idea ...?
Yes, it’s quite funny, it’s the door to their cat loo! As our flat is so open-plan we didn’t fancy falling over the cat littler all the time, so they got their own private lavatories! Very luxurious ;-) Graziela website.. Graziela online shop.. Graziela blog..

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It's Wiebcke from Line&Liv

A while ago I received a very nice email from Germany, Wiebke told me about her very nice online shop, her story about her family and her Gallery ... she made such a friendly impression on me and I imeadeatly felt connected to her although we had never met. SInce then Wiebke and I are emailing each other once in a while and I enjoy her posts on her blog and of course I had to invite her for an Open House Tour ... luckily for us she accepted the invitation and today we can have a little peak into her special home and the Gallery she runs with her husband ... but there is also a fantastic website, where you can buy some of the best brands! Please meet Wiebke from :: Line+Liv

1. ) In what kind of house do you live and with whom?
I live in an old barn with thatched roof together with my husband Peter and our three daughters Pauline (seven), Liv (five) and Molly (8 month). Our house is very old and has a very special character, which we tried to preserve. We bought the house 10 years ago and refurbished it from scratch – we built a new house within the walls of the old one.  Everything you see is new and designed and realized by us. It took a long time. After one year we finished the rebuilding and moved in. Our local neighbourhood is like a little village where we know everyone. We meet for coffee on the street and everyone is welcome in the house of the other one.
Our gallery is located in the most marvellous street of the city of Flensburg. It belongs to an old courtyard of traders. The gallery and the courtyard were refurbished and restored by our family during a couple of years. Our family business runs for four generations.
I had a little shop with children’s clothing in Flensburg before Molly was born. First, I wanted to pause after her birth. But finally I missed my shop and couldn’t live without it. Therefore, I established an online shop and my own blog. Now I am working at my lovely home most of the time and I love the balance between working and to care for my children. That does not always work perfectly, but we can see us and we share time with each other.
My work and its purposes are always changing.Showroom
2.) What exactly do you sell, also online and how do you decide on which brands you like to offer?
I always try to discover new things and to show them to others. Those are for example children’s clothing, furniture and many other tiny and lovely things. I am looking for objects, which enrich our lives.
I enjoy the cooperation with Labels from all over the World and I am happy, when I can help small firms to become more popular in Germany.
When I visit fairs, I prefer going to the smallest fair participants. I like the personal contact very much. When a label becomes too big, one shrinks from a personal contact to an ordinary number. In that case I start to look for new smaller firms.Galleriekruse_inside
3.) What kind of art or crafts or design can bring a smile to your face and how important is the influence from other artists for you in your day to day life and work?
I can be animated to laugh because of certain art objects and I can be animated to cry because of art objects. That is the adventurous side of art. Art is emotion. Everybody needs art in his/ her live. You can find it in a colourful tshirt, in a good song, in a good book or in a beautiful picture.
4.) What kind of art can people find in your gallery and what is always the fun part of a new exhibition?
It is very exciting to deal with new art – that includes the meeting with the artist und the human being behind his art. Every new exhibition starts with the planning, the draft of the invitations, the framing of the pictures and finally the presentation of the pictures.
Our gallery has got three floors. For this reason, we have enough space to develop our creativity.
5.) What ambiance did you want to create for the Gallery and the shop?
We want to create personality and cordiality. Additionally, we want to show our customers that art belongs to everybody’s daily live. Art should be accessible to everybody.
6.) How creative and talented are you yourself, what kind of things do you like to make and where do you find your inspiration for this?
I think that I have got the talent to see things and to rearrange them. For many years I carry a small black book with me. I write all inspirations in it. Those inspirations can be art objects, films, magazines, conversations and other daily situations. I sew, I knit and I am planning to create and to produce a  lovely baby knitting collection for my label Line+Liv.Floor
7.) Why is the color white so important for you and what would be your tip for readers when decorating their own home?
White is a great colour and a great basis to arrange colours and graphics. I like the brightness and the silence very much. That creates an atmosphere of freedom. I arrange colourful highlights through pictures, textiles, statuaries and flowers.Kitchen_diningtable
8.) Is the dining area an important part of the house or is there another place where you and your family spend a lot of time together?

The dining area is the heart of our house and our main living area. We eat meals there and we meet there after school and work for drawing, painting, laughing and dreaming. One highlight is the table, which was made by my husband Peter. The table got a great patina and little dents during the past years and every dent has got its own history.
9. ) Are you a good cook and do you like cooking, what kind of recipes are always high on your children’s wish list?
I like to cook and to experiment with new recipes very much. Unfortunately, I do not have much time for it. My daughters eat at school and in the kindergarten. But we all cook together at the weekends.
My children love to bake and to decorate their cakes with icing and pearls. Often, their creations are so beautiful that it would be a pity to eat them.
If I ask my daughters, they want to have pancakes (this will be part of my new project for my blog in the near future) and Pasta – but only with Parmesan.
Our kitchen was made by us. Nevertheless, sometime I would like to have a new one – one which brighter, more beautiful and with doors, which do not jam.
10.) Your house looks so warm and comfortable and totally non-cluttered is this on purpose and how do you keep your couch white with children?
In order to create a very well impression, I cleaned my house extra thorough before the pictures were taken. ;-) I always try to create harmony and silence in the rooms, because we have a small house (140m²). This does not always work with three children.
All in all, we have only few furniture. Nevertheless, these furniture are very comfortable and my children can play on them (the white sofa is from IKEA and its cover ca be washed!!!). The whole furnishing is a lovely mix of different styles, which fits very well with us, our house and the asymmetric walls.
11.) Please tell us where you find this great felt swing and what kind of toys do you like your children to play with?
I thought I find it on your B:kids side. It is from a little Austrian furniture manufacture and I order it (they) for my shop.
My daughters like to play outdoors and they like sport very much. After school and kindergarten they are looking forward to cycle, to skate and to visit their friends in the neighbourhood.
We are living near to the sea and to the forest. Those are wonderful places to experience many adventures.  
At home they enjoy simple activities like drawing, dressing up, dancing, singing, building play dens or watching movies.Bedroom_Pauline
12.) Who's room is this and who brought up the brilliant idea to paint the name on the wall?

This is (was) the room of Pauline and Liv. They saw the idea at one of our exhibitions. We painted the name of the artist in big letters on the wall at this exhibition. This picture inspirited both girls for the design of her own room. Additionally, they wanted to have a room, which tastes like chocolate.
Pauline has got her own room now and Liv and Molly live together in one room. Therefore, we will have to re-paint the wall. Liv only wants to have a white room with a green bed and a fancy tepee in the middle of the room – nothing else!!!
13.) How important is creativity in your family and how do you try to make it an integral part of your lives?
Very important! Every human contains creativity and it is important to support this and to offer enough space to enlarge the creativity. This is our wish for our children ... creativity, fantasy and to belief in everything one does.
14.) What's your overall approach to decoration, accesoiries and items in your home, where do you like to shop for furniture?
I never looked for furniture – they always found me. The dining table, the kitchen and our bed were made by my husband Peter. Much furniture are inherited, new upholstered and transformed. They are memories of the time as a student, memories of journeys and flea markets. I love modest furniture, wood of all kinds, objects from nature and Scandinavian classics and their design.
Some day – I am sure – I will buy the object of my dreams: The egg of Arne Jacobsen.Bedroom
15.) What do you consider a nice, happy and fullfilled day?
In my opinion,a great day means to have time – for example for a walk on the seaside, a picknick in the garden or time for good music. Additionally, it makes me happy to go through the grass with naked foods, to count freckles, to drink a glass of good wine with my husband and to realise, that I can be very glad to have such a great family.
16.) How does your family usually spend time at home during a weekend?
At the weekend we have time for each other again. Every Saturday and Sunday morning we start the day in our bedroom with a Café au lait, chocolate milk and fruits. Our double bed is 280cm long. So we have enough space for everybody.
We spend most of the time of the day in our garden. I love my garden with all the light, the colours and the smells.
In summer we go sailing. Being near to the sea is real rest. The children angle, look collect driftwood and they have all their bags full of shells.
Dear Irene: a big thank you for having me as a special guest on your Open House Tour,it was a lot of fun to answer all your questions!


..Line+Liv online shop..

..Line+Liv blog..


..Thank you Wiebke from Line+Liv..

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it's Virginia from Roddy&Ginger


Welcome to the fantastic home of Virginia Johnson and her family ... a home in which I would be very happy to live myself, perhaps I can ask Virginia if she could come to our place to help me with some interior decoration, although with her living in the UK and me in KL this won'd be very easy, but her images give me some terrific inspiration. Virginia is the founder and creator of the beautiful roddy&ginger label, which I have mentioned a couple of times on Bloesem and B:Kids before because I love what she makes ... enjoy this Tour!Stairskitchen_chalboard
{Chalkboard wall and stairs}
1. ) What kind of house do you live in and with? Is this the entrance to your house? I love the chalkboard wall, especially when it has a nice drawing like yours.
I live in a ‘60s town house on one of the highest points of Southeast London, with my husband Robert and our big kids -17 year old twins Charlie and Lucy. We bought this house 5 years ago when no one was really interested in ‘modern’ properties. There has always been a tradition of period houses being more desirable in this area. Things are changing now as people realise that these houses make great family homes. The house  was pretty shabby when we moved in. Our first task was to take out the partition walls on the ground floor to create one big space for cooking and eating. This is one end of the kitchen area with the stairs leading up to the first floor living room, we painted the wall black to disguise an ugly door and use it for messages, lists, new ideas and drawings. It’s very useful and cheap and people always comment on it.
{Couch in living room and art on wall}
2.) What do people often notice the first time they enter your home? What has been your approach in designing your home?

The first thing people notice is the light and the views– we live in a very leafy part of London and we look over woodland, then right across London, its stunning! With its large windows at the back, the whole house is designed to make the most of the setting.  We don’t need curtains as we are not overlooked, so at night we can see the lights of London. We have kept it simple and white to increase the feeling of space and used solid oak floor boards throughout because…. well, they were cheap! we got a job lot, enough to do the whole house.
{ balcony and livingroom}
3.) By looking at the picture it seems your livingroom is not on ground level, but I believe you do have a garden … what made you decide to create the livingroom on a higher level? So much snow is not very common, must have felt very special?

Our house is arranged on 5 floors, so everything is stacked on top of each other. The living room is above the kitchen and opens out onto a balcony with more amazing views! Our garden is tiny but and we also have an allotment that we can walk to through the woods, more often than not we take the car which is not very eco! This picture was taken in February when London had the heaviest snow for 18 years. There was no school and no transport so everyone forgot the gloomy news for the day and went sledging!

{fireplace, chair and pillows in couch}
4.) How would you describe your style and why you are attracted to this style? Can you mention some places where you love to shop for your home? Do you create many things yourself for your home, like re-upholstering, pillows, artwork?

I love designs that I grew up with in the 60s and 70s, I wish my mum had kept those original Heals Lucienne Day curtains! I already had masses of stuff before we moved here, so it fitted right in. I don’t like to stick to one style, I like to mix it up. I like to recycle, and search out unusual pieces, just about everything you see came from charity shops and fleamarkets. Apart from the sofas, my husband chose the sofas and they are not my favourite thing! Cushions I make myself from vintage fabric and silk scarves, which also make wonderful artworks.Studio-table
{studio, screenprint table}
5.) Speaking of creating…can you tell us a bit more about when and why you started the beautiful Roddy&Ginger label? Do you work from home? Where did you get your inspiration from for your new collection?
The idea for roddy&ginger started a couple of years ago – a very good friend of mine has a little boy who was just learning to talk, he couldn’t pronounce our names so we became roddy and ginger! I made him a t-shirt with the two little owls design and everyone said I should sell them. It wasn’t until last year that I had time to really start anything and I took the plunge and started an online shop in December. I work from home, we are lucky enough to have a large basement room that I use as my studio. My inspiration comes from my hoard of ceramics, books and vintage textiles collected over the years.
6.) Do you sew everything yourself or do you have somebody to help you. What it your background in education … have you followed any courser which you can highly recommend?

I studied graphic design at art college and have been freelance since my kids were one year old. It was either graphics or textiles at the time and graphics won! I have had a great career in the business, but I have always kept up my interest in textiles and screen printing so when we moved here I was able to create my studio. I took some textile printing courses at the London Print Workshop nearby in Brixton, and I use their brilliant facilities for making my screens and baking the end result. Some of the products I sew myself, but some are made here in the UK and hand printed by me in my studio.
{couch in studio with pillows}
7.) Roddy&Ginger already has an incredible collection .. but what are your plans for the future, expanding, other items etc.? What do you really like about your work and what would you rather skip?
I am in danger of having too many ideas so I am trying to edit my collection! I would like to introduce maybe a couple of new themes a year. I am working on  some new designs based on a tiny village in northern Spain, where we have a family home, not sure how its going to turn out yet but its something close to my heart!  Also on my list for Spring is to start a blog and develop the wholesale side of things both here in the UK and overseas.
{Kitchen from upstairs with saarinen table}
8.) I love all your furniture and you have done such a great job in combining your pieces and accessories? What mistake do you think people often make when decorating their home?
Thank-you! Its something I love doing.  Searching out forgotten and battered pieces and bringing them back to life. The table was an ebay bargain, made in the ‘60s by Arkana – so, a much cheaper version of the Saarinen table! Looking at these images I realise that I have an obsession with chairs – I didn’t know I had so many.  And nothing matches! I think having everything matching can be a  mistake, where’s the fun in six chairs that all look the same!
{kitchen view from table side}
9.) Does your family like to spend time around the dining table? Is having dinner together for you an important part of the day? What do you hope your kids learn about creating a home?
We always eat our evening meal together, and always Sunday lunch. So, yes it is important. I hope they’ve learnt to cook for themselves and to enjoy good food. Both the kids have developed an interest in design – Lucy is studying textiles at school and Charlie product design, not really surprising as we are both designers! I also hope they have learnt that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to create a home that’s creative and fun.
{kitchen shelves with ceramics}
10.) And YES I’m jealous of your great collection ceramics … are you still collecting, where do you find your pieces, is there a particular designer or brand you really love?   

I can’t stop myself from picking up pieces from charity shops, boot fairs and markets. I love Scandinavian and British glass and ceramics, studio pottery, teak bowls (anything teak!), stainless steel, enamel ware, Ercol furniture, anything with a retro pattern, vintage textiles, birds, childrens books, wooden horses, silk scarves, bumpy white vases, I could go on….
{Bird corner}
11.) Can you tell us a bit more about this corner in your home and the artwork? And what's the best decorating advice you ever got from anybody else?
More finds from the charity shops, the birds just formed themselves into a collection on the house-shaped shelf unit and I found a stack of flower paintings that someone had discarded. I once read that you should buy what you love and not worry what other people think, great advice, and you can always take it back to the charity shop if it really is a mistake!

{your bedroom}
12.) I love the simple and quietness of your bedroom .. is this done on purpose? What kind of book do you like to bring to bed?
What you can’t see from this picture is the best feature of our bedroom – the view (I have attached a jpg ) Our bedroom is on the 5th floor and it is very tranquil, we really feel as if we are amongst the treetops. We often watch as noisy flocks of the green parrots that have colonised parts of South London fly past our window, a very weird experience!  The rest of the room is simple and white with masses of hidden storage to keep it uncluttered. I couldn’t resist some vintage scarf cushions though. Beside the bed is one of my many notebooks, if I don’t write ideas down immediately I forget them.
{daughter’s bedroom}
13.) What ambiance did she wanted to create? What does she think of your work? Why all the mirrors?
Lucy has got the collecting bug from me. She loves all things vintage, including clothes and pretty pieces of china – she asked for the dressing table as a  Christmas present  when she was ten years old and the mirrors are all flea market finds. We often go hunting around the charity shops together and she can spot a bargain as well as I can.
{son’s bedroom}
14.) I’m only showing a little bit of your son’s bedroom, what are his hobbies, interests and how does this reflect in his room?

Charlie is quite a laid back character, and his hobby at the moment is sleeping.
I’m told that’s what teenage boys do! When he’s awake and when the sun shines he’s into kite-surfing which he does with his dad – it takes a lot of determination here in chilly England but is a much more enjoyable experience in Spain.Virginia_inspiration

{vintage books}
15.) WOW … I’m drooling over your vintage book collection … what is it that you too like so much about these books and do you use them as inspiration for your own designs? … finally what is the best advice you can give to anybody who would like to start a beautiful label like roddy&ginger?
I have been collecting these books for years, some of them I remember as a young child, I was brought up with Petunia and the Happy Lion. I love the design and the typography, and the simple bold colour illustrations that have such an affinity with screen printing techniques. I read them to my kids when they were little and Lucy still fondly remembers the distinctive smell of vintage books!

I started roddy&ginger knowing very little about running a business, and I am still learning – so my advice is be prepared to learn a lot in a very short time. Start small and don’t expect too much in the first few months – then every sale is a bonus. Stick to some sort of plan and don’t get sidetracked, easier said than done! 


..roddy&ginger products..

..roddy&ginger online shop..

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it's Lisa from Kiki&Polly


You probably remember me talking about Lisa Golightly more often here on B:KIds ... I'm a big fan of her artwork and am delighted she is our guest this week for an Open House Tour ... Lisa's love for painting was inspired by her dad who is also an artist and her children ... Lisa likes to create paintings  children and families and has illustrated a childrens book ... please vistit her website for all the information and enjoy the images of her lovely house here below ...
{hall and entrance}
1. ) What kind of house do you live and with whom and what kind of neighborhood?
I live in a 1918 Dutch Colonial with my husband, two kids and our dog George Washington (named by my daughter) in Portland, Oregon.  We really can't imagine living anywhere else, this city is one of those places that feels like a small town, everyone seems to know everyone and I think part of that
comes from all the little neighborhoods.  We're lucky to live in a wonderful area filled with beautiful old homes, walking distance to stores, cafes, and our kids school.
{living room and vintage desk}
2.)Where do you like to shop for furniture and home accessories? Do you also like to buy vintage pieces, if yes … where do you search for them?
I grew up antique shopping, so it is definitely in my blood.  Antiquing is my parents very favorite past time.  I have memories from a very young age of playing hide and seek with my brother in huge warehouses filled with antique furniture, while our parents shopped.  In fact, a lot of the pieces
we have are by way of my parents, they spot things for me all the time. We've lucked into some pieces, like the vintage sign on our mantel, we actually found it in the attic when we moved in.
{‘45th parallel’ above fireplace}
3.) What kind of art or crafts or design can bring a smile to your face and how important is the influence from other artists for you in your day to day life and work?
hmmm....Well I love home design magazines and I am known to hoard them and go through them again and again.  A lot of times it can be a wall color that inspires me to start a piece and I've always been fascinated by how people choose and live with art.
{art on wall and son sitting at table reading}
4.) what’s one of your favorite places in your house, where you love to sit down and just relaxed?
My favorite spot to just sit and relax is at one of the grey chairs in the living room with a cup of coffee and sketch book in hand.  There's good light and a nice view out the front of the house.

5.) The day often starts in the kitchen … can you describe a typical day in the life of your family and how you combine this with your work?
I am usually back from dropping the kids at school by 9 and work all day until mid-afternoon.  The up side to working from home is also the downside.  It is always just steps always so I find it can be hard to step away, especially when I am in the middle of something.  I love it though, I am a home body so it's perfect for me.  When the kids get home a lot of times my work has found its way to the dining room and we'll all just sit there working on our own little projects.

{son’s room}
6.) How important is it for you to decorate your children’s room in such a lovely way, do you think it is as much as important to them and what's your son’s favorite part of his room?
Their rooms definitely evolved rather than being planned.  They are both very attached to their rooms, and don't like things changed around too much (which is hard for me because I'm one to constantly rearrange!) We really just started with basic pieces and grew from there based on their
interests.  My son loves elephants, so the vintage Colliers magazine cover was perfect and I really liked the graphic quality and colors of them.
Oh and he says his favorite part is his bed, because he can jump on it. That answer says a lot about him!
{girl’s bedroom}
7.) This room is so soft, friendly and welcoming … how did you decide on the colors, decorating and furniture?
Again, the colors really sort of evolved.  My daughter is not a girly girl, so I found this bed spread when she was little. It's soft but not too girly. The green dresser was a vintage find, the hutch was my grandmothers china hutch that I painted and her bed was mine when I was little. A lot of their toys were mine as well.  My grandparents moved to the states from Germany and had a German imports store that we inherited a lot from.  The giraffe in my daughter's room, and a large lion in my sons room are old steiffs that are enjoying a second life with our kids, and hopefully they will survive to be enjoyed by their kids someday.
{girl’s bedroom with giant giraffe}
8.) What are some favorite places on the web where you search for inspiration and children’s items?
There are so many great sites.  I love Arthurs Circus and Three Potato four for vintage finds and oompa for great wood German toys (my weakness).
{girl’s bedroom with bed}
9. ) Do you have any nighttime rituals before bringing your children to bed … what parts of upbringing of your children do you find harder than you ever had expected?
We've always done the 3 b's.  Bath, brush teeth, book.  As they get older and more independent it is changing, my daughter likes to read to herself now after she is tucked in.  So by changed a lot,  I mean has gotten much easier!
{Bedroom with white boxes}
10.) How did you came up with the idea to make these white boxes and how did you make them? What decorating advice can you give us?
I am constantly changing things around, it drives my family crazy.  My husband was kind enough to build these shelves and the boxes are from Ikea, that I then wallpapered. We really needed some more storage and I like having a long surface like that to lean art on.
{2 bedrooms}
11.) What ambiance did you want to create in the bedrooms?
I recently painted the room white, it's been everything from blue to chocolate brown.  I've always been
drawn to all white spaces, I'd paint every wall and floor white if my family would consent!  I love it , it's very calming but still warm.

{images of your work}
12.) Can you tell us a bit more about your artwork, how you started, what you really like and don’t like about it and what would be the best advice you can give to anybody who would like to start selling their artwork too?
I took a break from working not long after my daughter was born and started playing around with new mediums whenever I had a spare moment. It was a good time create purely for the fun of it without any expectations. By the time both my kids were in school, I was ready to create full time again. My best advice would be to find what you love and maybe even what scares you to try.  I had a professor who once told me if it scares you then you should do it, and that was the best advice I ever got, and has held very true.


..Lisa's blog..

..Kiki&Polly webshop..

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it's Jimin from Smallville studio


A little while ago I wrote about smallVILLE ... the small design studio from Jimin and I immediately invited her for an Open House Tour ... and I'm very glad she accepted the invitation and opened her doors from her beautiful house for us ... Jimin makes the most beautiful and unique and extraordinary clothes for minis and grownups. She is such a creative women and her blog is just a feast for the eye!

Jimin_studio  {Collage of Jimin's home studio}
1.) Where do you live, what kind of house and with whom? And of course what it is you love to create and design in this studio?

I live in a small California Bungalow style home from the 1920’s with my husband Ethan and his daughter, Jaymes [9], our son, cole[2]. Our house is located on the San Francisco Peninsula. It is a beautiful neighborhood with many family homes, but also has many shops, restaurants, and parks within walking distance.
I’ve always enjoyed making clothes, accessories, and home furnishings. I love mixing different textures or patterns, colors, details. Right now, I am working on mostly children’s clothing. Dressing my children with clothes made by me is the greatest pleasure.Jimin_studio_details

{Jimin's home studio}
2. ) Can you tell us a little about yourself, your background and roots and the influence it has on your life and work?
I started taking art classes when I was 5 years old. I continued to study fine arts in my junior year of college when I transferred to the Academy of Art College, San Francisco. I majored in sculpture, where I studied there another two years. During my college years, I took many design classes including apparel, interior, and graphic. It was also tough time for me. I was young and wanted to go in a different direction to earn money. I was always afraid to be a starving artist. My biggest regret was not graduating from school. But, I am blissful with what I do now. I value all the time I studied art more than regretting.

My life and work are definitely influence by my family and art teachers. My parents used to own a small men’s tailor shirt factory. I often visited the factory after school, and watched how workers make the shirts. There were about 30 to 35 workers. Most of shirts were made by hand. I wasn’t allowed to go near the sewing machines, but I loved watching them and was fascinated. I often played in big fabric scrap files. I also witnessed my parents working hard and checking every detail by hand. Fine craftsmanship was very important to them.
{wooden bench in livingroom}
3.) What kind of house do you live in, with whom, where and are you happy here or is there another dream house you one day would like to live ?

..see answer 1..
{dining table in front of world map}
4.) Such a great idea to wallpaper your wall with the world map … how did you come up with this idea and who is collecting the trumpets?
It was my brother-in-laws’ idea. He is a carpenter, so he has a great deal of decorating and building ideas. My husband and I were thinking about putting it on our kids’ room, but the wall wasn’t big enough for whole world. We love looking at them. It’s an easy and fun way for the kids to study geography.

My husband played the trumpet when he was in high school. His Grandfather was a great trumpet player. Most of trumpets are passed down from him. He has about 10 trumpets in the storage room now. He often likes to play his favorite pieces, either on the weekend, or teach kids how to play with, and are scattered all around the house. Of course, he leaves one here, and there, all over the place. I like to be well organized with everything. It’s been very challenging with kids. So, I had to create a space for some of his favorite pieces.   I knew it had to be the most convenient place to reach, but difficult to reach for my children, and still looks well together with other things. They are on the mantel now. I think they look good with the other items in our living room.
{coffee with gorgeous ceramic pieces}
5.) I just have to ask you where the ceramic pieces come from on this table? Are you a collector of vintage pieces and if yes what kind of pieces do you really like? Where do you find them, can you give some online sources?
They are all vintage pieces from Pyrex. I take pleasure in hunting for a vintage pieces at the flee market, second-hand shops, estate sales, etc. I love Victorian Jewelry, 60’s Danish furniture, ceramics, and unusual vintage modern piece from the 60’s and 70’s. I also love repainting, or reshaping very old country style piece. I often am looking at etsy shops, sweetshorn vintage,  and blue bell bazaar,  I also like to browse at Twentytwentyone,  and Vintagelooks.
{small impressions of Jimin’s kitchen}
6.) Do you love to cook and are you very health conscious … I always assume that people who are living in the San Francisco area are very food - organic minded isthis true? What places do you like to visit in your area for good food?
I enjoying cooking. I find it very relaxing and creative, too. I wouldn’t say I am very health conscious, but I do believe that it’s very important to eat healthy food. I try to give my kids a lot of fruits instead of juice and avoid junk food, and sweets. I get frustrated when my son does not eat vegetables, but I don’t like to force anything they don’t want to eat.

You are right, Irene, people would rather go to farmers markets to buy fresh organic veggies and fruits.  Every grocery store has organic food sections now. I don’t remember seeing many organic sections a few years ago. We are very fortunate to live close to the most diverse city in the world. There are restaurants from all over the world. We love eating at Cha Cha Cha [Tapas] in Haight-Ashbury, Deep Sushi [Japanese] in Noe Valley, Betelnut [Asian Fusion] in Marina, Suppenkuche [German]
Restaurant in Hayes Valley, Slanted door [Vietnamese] in Embarcadero, and many more...
Above all, my moms Korean cooking food is still my favorite.
{daughter’s bedroom}
7.) This silver grey is so beautiful, did your daughter choose it or did you do it for her? Where do you get your inspiration from when decorating your house?
My husband and I make a decision that will be permanent, and that will last for a long time based on her opinion. Most of times, we agree, or come up in the middle. I get inspiration from everywhere- Books, internet, movies, my childhood, and friends or families homes. I love looking at peoples nests. It’s like going to museum. That’s one of the reasons why I am a big fan of Irene's Open House Tour. It’s a great honor to be a part of it.
{daughter’s bedroom with mattress on floor}
8.) What are important ideas for you for when raising your children? What kind of toys do you prefer to give to them and do you encourage them to play with?

I miss my childhood dearly. I still remember first doll dress that my mom made for me, fishing trips with my dad, and playing in the front yard with my friends until the sun went down. I often wished my mom was home spending more time with us. She has always been very creative, and had a huge impact on my sewing skills. I want my children to have a plenty of those memories. It’s also very important for them learn how to respect others and appreciate what they have. I think the best way to teach them is be a great role model.
I am not a big fan of battery operated plastic toys. Children immediately get attracted to those toys first, but also easily get bored of it fast. You can’t do much, or be creative with something if it’s already moving by itself. I tend to buy similar toys that I played with when I was child or teach them various arts that I have learned.Jimin_c&jroom_details

{daughter’s bedroom with desk against wall}
9.) I love the vintage desk and chairs … and knowing how to create a warm atmosphere seems so easy for you to do … where did you learn to do this … or do you follow your instincts? 

Everyday, I get new ideas to create a practical, yet whimsical space in their rooms. When I have ideas, I get very excited to see the result right away, so I spend all day long rearranging them. After I finish it, I get great pleasure out of it. That cycle goes on and on every 3 to 5 months. My husband often thinks he is in the wrong room!
Taking different art classes definitely influenced the many things I have done. There are no rules, I just follow my instincts and that makes me feel like I am home.Jimin_samples


{little felt hearts and yellow felt socks}
10.) These little creations look so perfect … for whom do you make them and what would be the best advice you can give to anybody who would like to start selling their handmade products too?

I used do everything by myself, designing and making the garment tag, bag, and other packaging things. As my business grows, I couldn’t do all that. I think creating new things for the customer is the first priority. I occasionally make a little ornament for my customers. I want them to feel special when they received the package.
I think you have to be very passionate about what you are selling. If you think your product is not good enough for you then others feel the same way.  Start with small scale items to see how much you enjoy selling them. Creating and selling are two different things. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work.  But, in the end, it’s all worth it.Jimin_bedroom

{Jimin’s bedroom}
11.)  Can you tell us a bit more about this beautiful bedroom, I love the color on the wall? Does the internet inspire you to be creative and decorative in house?

It was hard to create a bedroom that we both enjoy. I like a romantic, feminine, and sensual room, but my husband likes traditional American style. We had to compromise with each other. He picked out most of the furniture, and I decorated with things that I love. I don’t settle for one look. I change things around very often. I love organizing. It’s very therapeutic for me. Lately, the internet is huge part of my life because of  my business and working at home everyday.  I am regularly looking at others’ work when I have time.  I am very inspired by The Selby, The gardner & Marks, Office for Word and Image.


{some jewelry and treasured pieces}
12.) What is your most treasured belonging and what souvenirs did you bring back from your last trip?

I worked as a makeup artist for 6 years until my son was born. I used to collect makeup,  and have treasured my collection so much.  One of our storage rooms is filled with huge collections of makeup and perfume. I know many of them need to be thrown away from being so old.  I don’t even wear makeup anymore, but I am having hard time letting it all go. This year, I am going to keep some of the unopened packages and let the rest go.  The last trip we went on was going skiing in Lake Tahoe. I usually bring back little souvenirs from the places I visit, but I was so exhausted from skiing, that I stayed in most days. My body did not respond the way I wanted it to!
I think I need to exercise more.Jimin_garden  

{the garden}
13.) When you sit in your garden and think of 2009 … what ideas, dreams or things would you love to accomplish?

I will continue to make children’s clothing. Also, I am planning to create a couple items for adults, and maybe some for home furnishings. I’ve been sketching a couple of new characters for the shop. It has been very hard to let go with whole sale orders last year. It was hard to produce a large number of items by myself. It would be nice to find a great seamstress this year. I am always dreaming of having my own company someday. Right now, I’m just taking small steps, for a better future for smallVille.

..Smallville blog..
..Smallville shop..
..Smallville on etsy..
..previous work by Jimin..

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it's Karen from Olli&Lime

How nice for us to get a chance to see some before & after images and some tips about renovating from the very nice people from Olli&Lime ... husband and wife team, Andy and Karen who live in the UK, are the founders of Olli&Lime ... a superb brand for children's bedroom furnishings ... 'very contemporary but with a touch of retro' ... currently there are three collections for you available billie, george and egg, but I'm sure there will be many more in the future ...  please meet and enjoy Andy and Karen's house ...
{the hal in renovation}
1. ) What kind of house do you live in and with whom and why did you decide to renovate? Who made the layout/design for the new floorplan and how long did it take from beginning to end?

My husband Andy and I live in a pre-war house, converted into flats in the 1980s. We viewed the property in April last year and instantly saw huge potential. The previous owner was an elderly gentleman who had done virtually nothing since the conversion. It needed a lot of work, but the large windows and high ceilings instantly gave a feeling of space and volume. We loved the leafy location, on the outskirts of the town, and the place just felt right. So, we decided to roll up our sleeves and renovate. We spent hours every night, while the sale was going through, sketching floor plans and visualizing what our new home would look like. We originally wanted to knock down every wall in the flat, making it completely open plan, but we ran into problems with this idea. Our builder explained it would be a huge hassle and cost to remove the load-bearing walls, so we worked around them, opening it up as much as we could. We bought the flat at the start of May and the builders did most of the structural work in about three weeks. A week later we moved in! The hardwood floor hadn’t been laid but the rest was pretty much done.
{New hallway and entrance}
2.)Wow, this looks fabulous … can you tell us a bit more about finding your inspiration, ideas or examples you used? What are the major difference with the old hallway?

We love the volume offered by loft-style living, but this isn’t something you get much of in our small English town. I guess most of our inspiration comes from visits we’ve made to the US in the last few years. We’ve been to Boston several times and always spend the weekends touring open houses. We’ve seen some amazing loft spaces and wanted to create something with a similar feel. Originally the hall had several doors dividing the space, which just seemed unnecessary. We took them out and expanded the width to really open up the space and improve the flow.
{new livingroom}
3.) a beautiful livingroom with a very daring wallpaper … where did you find it? Can you describe your style and why you are attracted to this style? 

Our taste is very contemporary but with a touch of retro, hence the wallpaper. We saw it years ago and loved it. I’ve kept a swatch in my cupboard all this time (I keep a lot of stuff in there – postcards, wrapping paper etc – it’s great for inspiration). Anyway, we saw an opportunity to make a real statement so this was the obvious choice. The paper is from Graham and Brown.
{living room details}
4.) When I look at your house and your gorgeous Olli&Lime collection it occurs to me that you really like the colors green, brown and orange … is there a particular reason why?

When we first met, I was working on a project for Andy; he was my client! We talked and found we shared a passion for the color brown! Odd I know, but that’s kind of what created the spark and got us together! I also love green; specifically that green in between lime and olive, it’s such a beautiful color; summery yet muted. Andy loves orange, so I guess our designs and our home reflect this! Thankfully it all goes together well. We just design products we love and hope that others share our taste!
{kitchen renovation}
5.) What was important for you when deciding on the new lay-out for the kitchen?  Were there any unexpected problems … and where did you go shopping for the new kitchen cabinets? 

Were there any unexpected problems … and where did you go shopping for the new kitchen cabinets?The kitchen layout was decided for us really. With a huge window at one end and a door at the other, it had to be gallery style. We wanted tall cupboards one side to hide the boiler and fridge/freezer, so chose minimal gloss white units with clean lines. We decided to have some fun with the opposite side and add some brightly colored doors. Andy wanted orange and I wanted brown, so we had a bit of a stalemate. Then we noticed our local trade place had these lime green doors so we settled on those. I’m glad we did.
{new kitchen}
6.) Yes and Lime it is, love it, so bright and unique … who designed the kitchen and what was really important for you to have in the new kitchen … is there anything you forgot in the new kitchen you still would like to add or have done differently?

I guess we designed the kitchen. All we really did was choose elements we thought would work together well. The countertop is always an interesting talking point, as it wasn’t really our first choice. We wanted it to be really thick and chunky, so stone seemed the obvious material. We got a quote from a really high-end kitchen design shop but the countertop came in more expensive than the rest of the kitchen and appliances put together! So we did some research and came up with a cheaper solution.
Our builder is an ex-chef and has that creative edge, so when we suggested a poured concrete top, he was up for having a go. We are so glad we went down this route, although it took about five different products to seal the surface! It looks great now and is a real feature.
{office and living}
7.) Do you both work from home or is there another studio from where all the Olli&Lime products are being designed and made? What would a normal working day for you involve?

I work from home, where I design the products. I have huge cupboards that house boxes and boxes of samples, fabric, ribbons, wallpaper, sketches etc. I’m constantly rummaging through them for inspiration! We have UK-based suppliers who handle the production to our specification. Our screen printers are in London and our converters are just outside Manchester, so I often travel to see them, along with our retail contacts. Andy works to market Olli & Lime, alongside some other clients, so isn’t always at home. When he is here he gets relegated to the living room, which I think he quite likes!
Although pretty spacious, our place only has two bedrooms. So, as our family grows we’ll need to move Olli & Lime to a separate studio. I dream of converting an old warehouse and I am always on the look out for our next renovation project!
{dressingroom renovations}
8.)Who came up with the idea to open up the bedroom and create this walk-in closet?

The closet started life as an en-suite. Although it would have been nice to retain this, the master bathroom is only next-door, so it seemed a bit of a waste. When the builders took down the false wall the bedroom felt so much bigger, so we decided to keep it open. Our next plan is to build a 10ft high wall of shelves to house my bags and shoes plus Andy’s ever-growing collection of retro trainers!


{new dressingroom}
9.) When all the renovations were done, what was something you really never expected to be so hard? Any tips or advice you can give us when planning on renovating … perhaps some sources that really helped you?

We did a lot of the stripping out and preparation ourselves, along with all the decorating. I guess it was this that proved to be harder than we imagined. The ceilings and the walls are pretty high so painting them was hard work and seemed to go on forever. Other than that we found it a pleasure and very satisfying. The builders made things easy though and did a great job, on time and on budget, so we were extremely lucky! If you can get all of the structural work done before you move in, all the better, but I would say live in a place for a while before you make any radical decorating decisions or major purchases, as it’s best to get a feel for how you use the space first.O&L_bedroom

10.) When going to bed tonight as a couple, who are also working together during the day on your fantastic brand Olli&Lime … what parts of your work are forbidden to discuss here  … and finally what will you both be dreaming about when thinking of Ollie&Lime’s future … 
Unfortunately nothing seems to be off limits. We are terrible at switching off! We work all of the time and if we aren’t working we are thinking about work. Thankfully we love what we do, so it’s a pleasure (most of the time). We recognize that running a business is very demanding, particularly in the early stages. Focusing on work is just what you have to do to make it a success. We do try to take one day off at the weekend, get out of the house and do something nice, trying to forget about work for a while.
I dream of opening a studio on the East Coast of America, of starting a family there and having a creative life. I’d love Olli & Lime to continue to grow, establishing more retailers in North America and Australia. We are warehousing in the USA from this summer, so we’re getting closer to our dream every day. I just feel so lucky to be doing something I love!


..Olli&Lime online shop..

..Olli&Lime blog..

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it's Beth from Ses Petites Mains

Ses Petites Mains... 'little hands' is the name of the gorgeous fashion label for children founded by Beth Miles...after working for design houses in NY for many years and growing up learning to sew, knit and embroider and Beth decided it was time to start her own line of 'tiny chic clothing' for girls and the clothes are still being manufacturerd in San Fransico close to her home ... and today she opened her doors to her home for us ... enjoy!
1.) Hi Beth, thanks for welcoming us into your beautiful house … can you tell us a bit more about your house and with whom you are living here?
My house is a cottage-style Victorian built in 1900 that sits atop one of the highest streets in San Francisco.  Our home was in serious need of love when we bought it in 2001, but from the first moment I saw it, I knew it be my home.   The great thing about a home that hasn’t been worked on is that the original details are still there, but of course, the obvious downside to a home that hasn’t been cared for, well, you know!  It has been really exciting bringing love and light back into it.  I share my home with my daughter, Somerset; our dog, Boris &  our cat, Mouli. 
{Studio desk}
2.) Do you work from home, is that workable for you or would you prefer to have a studio somewhere else?
I do work from home which really suits me at this point in my life.  Having a young daughter, I feel so fortunate to have the flexibility to come and go as the job needs.  I can take her to school in the mornings, work all day and still volunteer to read to her classroom or take her for icecream after school.   On certain days, it can be very busy here-- I may have my assistant working, mothers coming and going with tiny fit models, or a contractor dropping something off.  But it feels very alive and keeps me connected to my family, which is so important to me.  I do have a dream of a lovely, spacious, light-filled studio and tiny store front where I would have the opportunity to meet my customers and create special pieces right in the store.  That will be my next step.Studio
3.) When and why did you start your beautiful Ses Petites Mains? What are the nice parts of your work and what things would you rather skip?
I started this project in April 2006, after many months of serious thought and deliberation.  But really after years of dreaming of owning my own business.  My background had been womenswear and I loved my career, living in New York City, working for great companies, travelling etc., but its not very conducive to having a life outside of your work.  I knew once I had my daughter, it would be hard to return to that world. 
I enjoy many aspects of the business—it truly is a labor of love.  Having a small business like mine is quite demanding at times and without the passion for it, I could never hang in there.  Finding fabrics, creating stories from them and dreaming up bodies—that is the best part for me.  I find the fabrics, create the patterns and the season starts to come together.  I enjoying the journey of where my first pattern takes me.

If I never had to help organize another shipment of deliveries, well, that would be pure bliss! 

{Images and art in office}
4.) Where do you get your inspiration from, can you mention some artists you admire or other sources you really love to use?
I am definitely a collector of ‘things’-vintage clothing, fabrics, books, china, anything that speaks to me.  Scouring a flea market is one of my most favorite things to do on a Sunday morning.  The Chelsea flea market in New York City and the Covent Garden market in London are places where I have had infinite luck at finding treasures.  I adore photography and find an ample archive from my own family’s memories.  The photos of my mother from when she was a child in the 30’s and those of my older sisters from the early 50’s--I find endless inspiration from the clothing and spirit of their time. 

I really appreciate figurative pieces – paintings, sculpture, etchings.  I used to sit forever in life drawing studios.  I appreciate the live form and think it is why I always love fittings.  It probably also explains my complete adoration of Modigliani.  There’s a boldness to his work, in form and color that really resonates with me—I am definitely NOT afraid to use color or mix patterns.  Other artists that I appreciate would be Chaim Soutine, Felix Sherman, Constantin Brancusi, and Ruth Asawa.


{dining room}
5.) Such a great dining room, can you tell us a bit more why you decorated it like this and about the art on the wall?
The yellow walls just make the room so sunny & vibrant.  I love the big table where friends and family can squeeze around.  (I suppose that is a remnant of having grown up the youngest of 7 children).  I found the antique horseshoe chairs at an auction and then added the modern red version as a mix of the old and new.  Plus they are such a great color of red.  Again, a bit of Modigliani on the walls and then work that is more personal—some etchings that I did, art I bought when I was travelling and many pieces that my daughter Somerset created.  


6.) Speaking of the dining room … who is the cook in your house and was this kitchen already there, the sink is fabulous?
That lovely old sink has been the source of many renovation headaches.  I found it in a salvage yard in Oakland – it was a hospital sink.  I just fell in love—it cost a fortune and weighed even more.  I thought my contractor would never speak to me again.  But we hung it on the wall and have been loving it ever since.  We literally built our entire kitchen around it!  I cook, although it is not my first love, but I do completely enjoy baking.  If only we could eat chocolate chip cookies all day long!  However, because organic farms & farmers markets are so accessible here, I have become much more interested in cooking. 


{Joy things on table and vintage camera}
7.) What truly brings you Joy, what makes you happy?
Hiking along the headlands in Marin, taking in the amazing coastline of San Francisco.  Being near the ocean.  Listening to live music.  Drinking really good coffee or margaritas (best ever in Mallorca!).  Making yule log cakes for Christmas Eve.  Watching my daughter tap dance.   Being a parent.


{Somerset’s bedroom}
8.) This looks like a princess room … did Somerset herself help you to decorate the room, what does she really like and does she ‘help’ you sometimes design a new collection?
Her room had paint literally falling off the walls when we first moved in – it was a sight!  With the assistance of much protective gear,  we stripped the walls, painted the floors red and made a lovely nursery.  Now that she is 6, she is the director of her space.  She frequently asks to rearrange the room, in a really thoughtful manner…she is clearly taking it all in and thinking of how best to position her things.  She now reads on her own, so she asked that her bed be moved to the side so that she can lie in bed and have immediate access to her favorite books—any and all Patricia Pollacco books, Harry Potter—only the first 4 years, as it got a bit too scary after that—and Amelia Bedelia. 
Her bed was the best find at the Chelsea Market. 
She has always loved her dolls, her stuffed puppies and lately discovered a great love of tap dance.  She is big into playing dress up, so we create lots of costumes and now she sketches what she likes and we sit together and figure out how we can make it.
In lots of ways she helps me with a collection, she may tell me that she ‘wants a long dress.’  So I think about how that could work and what would make sense for me.  She is also really particular about fit, so I know that if she is comfortable in something, most will be also.  I find that if she really likes a fabric that I use in ses petites mains, it will ALWAYS be a best seller.  Her opinions about fit and what I see her choosing to wear, always impact how I design and what I design.  She is a wonderful designer—whether she knows it or not.


{Somerset’s play corner and dresser}
9.) What kind of toys does Somerset love to play with and what things do you encourage her to play with?
Somerset loves her babies, making music, riding her bike, dancing—ballet & tap-- and sidewalk chalks.  We made a garden for her when I was pregnant and she has loved discovering it over the years.  She has a great affection for rolly polly bugs and butterflies of which we have tons in our yard.  I feel really lucky as a parent because she is so open to many of the things that I enjoy—the outdoors, cooking, art.  I have encouraged her do whatever she feels like, and to remind her that she is a creator.  I hope that is something that she carries with her in life. 


{daybed in parlor}
10.) Do you also sew your own pillow covers … do you use your creative skills for your own interior accessories as well and where do you shop for fabrics?
I did create those cushions on the daybed…all those fabrics were from ABC Carpet & Home.  I lived around the corner from that gorgeous store when I lived in nyc and visited every weekend!  That daybed was found there too—the whole thing is my little homage to my life in nyc!  I’m the type of person who is always thinking  “I can make that!”—its hard for me to purchase things when I feel like I can create them in my own way.  But now I have such less time, I am becoming a bigger consumer. 
I have always loved Mood Fabrics in NYC, I tend to wait until I am in the city and do all my shopping at once. 


{The Garden}
11.) How important is a garden for you, are you often sitting outside and does nature inspire you when designing new collections?
The outdoors have always been important to me.  When we bought our home, I had just left New York City and had no outdoor space.  The garden had not been loved in close to 30 years, it felt like a crime to have abused it as such.  We stripped it of everything—weeds, garbage, it was disaster.  We used the bricks from the old interior chimneys of the house and layed them as the patios, we planted every kind of plant, hung swings -- just became immersed in it.  I still feel that lovely energy everytime I am in it, its like the space is saying ‘thank you’.  I love the quiet of the garden, the light streaming through the trees, the smells, the birds.  The color of things in nature is inspiring for me, and the textures—you will always see them in my collections.


{dollhouse and Somerset}
12.)… and finally what is your magic tip to start something for yourself, work from home and combine this with being a mom?
Creating ses petites mains has been my most rewarding work experience thus far.  Having my own line was a dream I had since I can’t remember not having it.  In starting ses petites mains, I took a huge leap.  I produced a small production run—without having a single order or wholesale account-- and started to show my work locally at design events in San Francisco.  I don’t know if I would recommend my ‘method’ to others, but it completely paid off for me.  I was signed on by a rep within a couple of weeks and it all just started moving from there.

There are lots of occasions when things don’t go as one would hope—the fabric doesn’t show up, the store order gets mixed up, my web site crashes on the eve of a huge bit of press!-- but I just never give up, I never stop believing that I can do it.  And through that belief, my business keeps growing.

I have a background in design and advertising which has been hugely important—ses petites mains is the weaving of all my passions and skills into one tapestry.   And being a mother makes it all a bit more hectic but at the same time gives me the greatest clarify.  At a certain point, no matter what is happening, I have to put it down and go volunteer in the school library--you certainly can’t leave twenty 1st graders waiting!

..Ses Petites Mains..

..Ses Petites Mains collections..

..Ses Petites Mains online stockists..

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it's Kristin from Mette

You probably have seen Kristin Rasmussen's work before on B:Kids and it was very nice for me to hear that she accepted my invitation for an Open House Tour. Krisitin's home is based in Vancouver, Canada and she is a stay-at-home-mom with a great talent for creating children's clothing and especially, little girl dresses. Her label is called Mette and I love the way Krisitin uses simple but very elegant lines for her designs ... please enjoy this tour through her lovely house ...
{Studio with shelves, crowns and clothes}
1.) Can you tell us a bit about your background, why you started your own label and it is to work from home?
i have been sewing since i was in my teens – altering vintage clothes or making my own.  i was employed as a legal secretary before hadley was born and sewing was my hobby.  i took the leap from my ‘regular job’ while on maternity-leave and never went back.  working from home is incredibly rewarding as it allows me to spend every day with my daughter!  it also has its challenges – which involve prioritizing my time and responsibilities.  i am very fortunate to have a supportive partner who can take over household duties when I need to work.


{Studio and sewing machine}
2.) Do you make everything yourself also the patterns and where do you find your fabrics?
i have a storage closet full of fabric – purchased online, local shops, vintage shops, thrifting, or given to me by friends and family (my grandma sews – she recently gave me her husqvarna which i look forward to trying out soon).  i make everything myself.  many of my designs are based on vintage patterns or clothes.  i am currently obsessing over a 1965 pattern book borrowed from a friend.


3.) In what kind of house and area do you live and with who? Is you environment inspirational enough for you to design your new clothes or do you go somewhere else to be inspired?
i live in vancouver, bc, canada with my boyfriend, chris, and our daughter, hadley (2).  we recently moved into the main floor of this 1920’s house - two bedrooms + my studio – very bright and lots of storage.  i don’t drive – so having a park across the street, a grocery shop around the corner, and being centrally located to all major transit routes is fantastic.  having a home that is comfortable and organized allows me to get inspired and be motivated to get work done. i can find inspiration in many places – internet, movies, magazines, art, thrift finds – just about anywhere.


{Chinese dolls on shelves}
4.) Are the little dolls vintage and do you collect them… what is the story behind them?
the dolls are vintage nodders (some have magnets in their mouth so they kiss one another) – I fell in love with one and then started buying them on ebay.  long ago, chris and i were collecting vintage records, record players, books, jewelry, clothes, kitchenware … we must have overloaded – because we had a massive garage sale and sold nearly everything.  we are very selective in our collecting now!


{Shelves in dining room}
5.) Many interesting pieces on your shelves … can you tell us a bit more and I see a laptop … is the internet an important tool for you and what sites do your really like to visit?
we keep the rest of the apartment uncluttered, so this is where we display our collection of vintage curios – dogwood pieces from bc ceramics.  wooden cocktail trays.  porcelain vases.  i have started collecting vintage frames for family photos.  the internet is definitely an important tool - for inspiration, sourcing materials, shopping, news, etc. – it is also a great tool for procrastinating!  i like to visit sites of like-minded individuals, moms and designers.   i like to see what everyone is up to and the productivity of others is inspiring. 


{Daughter’s bedroom}
6.) Such a beautiful bed, where did you buy it and I love the curtains, please let us know where you find them?
the bed is by oeuf.  the tall dresser and low drawers are IKEA – and match her bed perfectly.  we found the vintage curtains in a shop in the heritage district of new westminster – also where chick pea children’s boutique (where my line is available locally) is located.


{Daughter playing}
7.) You keep your girl’s room so light, open and uncluttered, I really like that … have you done this on purpose … what are her favorite toys and what is her favorite activity?
i did clean up before i took the photo – but hadley’s room is light and open and very pretty – even with her books and toys everywhere.  the IKEA furniture makes putting away the toys very easy!  at any time, there can be upward to 20 dolls + rabbits + dogs + bears on hadley’s bed.  i  sneak in after she has fallen asleep to remove the ‘not soft’ toys – tea party dishes, cardboard slide, books – that she has brought to bed with her. the artwork is a silkscreen entitled ‘peek-a-boo’ by my friend, artist sonja ahlers.  her bookshelf is filled to capacity and she loves them all.  her favourite toys of late have been strawberry shortcake + friends (my sister’s childhood dolls) and fisher price little people.


{Living room with tv on cabinet}
8.) How would you describe your style, what kind of furniture pieces are you really attracted to and where do you find them … do you still have a pick-up?
i would describe my style as eclectic – preferring vintage and unusual modern pieces.  our furniture + art have been collected thru auctions, craigslist, friends, thrift shops – and they all seem to work together.  i really like the william morris quote “have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” – it helps to keep things simple.  the print is ‘red queen’ by joel smith (1967).


{Living room with white couch}
9.) I love the whole look of this corner, can you tell us a bit more about the cabinet with black balls on the end?
it is a stereo cabinet - clairtone project g.  it was an incredible find on craigslist – it had been listed for 23 days before we came across it – having only one previous owner, the stereo is in flawless condition.  it is my favourite piece of furniture and we use it every day. 


{Living room with special chair and artwork}
10.) This chair must be an one-of-kind piece, who made it and did the same person made the beautiful artwork too or is did you combine the two together … what do you like about it?
the chair is one of a few that were custom made for a local café.  it is an unusual chair - cold and metal.  hadley likes it because she can slide down it!  unfortunately, all i know about the painting is that it was done by an art student named, paul.  i love both pieces - they are so well-suited - they could have been made by the same artist!


11.) Again a light and bright bedroom, but there is a print on the wall that I really would like to know who made it? Are you an evening person or do you work better in the early morning?
this is another piece by sonja ahlers – a giclee print called ‘howling hex’.  most of my work while hadley is sleeping – during her nap or evenings.  i am useless in the morning – until I have had my coffee (the coffee maker is programmed the night before)!  i often work from 9pm to midnight – listening to old radio programs (‘agatha christie’ or ‘the shadow’ mysteries).  my studio is very small – 6’x6’ – but has two windows looking out to the trees in the backyard.


{Garden and daughter walking outside stairs}
12.) ;… and finally what is your magic tip to start something for yourself, work from home and combine this with being a mom?
“do what you love” + “don’t procrastinate”!  as a mom, it is also important not to set unreal expectations for yourself and your work – with a child, anything can happen! 


..Mette online shop..

..Kristin Rasmussen..

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it's Jenny from LMNOP

LMNOP_banner LMNOP is It is so much fun for me to prepare these Open House Tours and get a chance to get to know talented women like this weeks guest, Jenny from LMNOP a bit better ... Jenny is the founder and creative director of the free and super beautiful online magazine about design for children ... LMNOP only showcases unique labels and designs for hip and stylish parents ... LMNOP, Laugh Make Nurture Organise and Play ... Jenny lives in Australia and today she tells us a bit more about her life, her family and and LMNOP ... please enjoy!LMNOP_Jenny_heart

{Jenny with son and heart on the wall}
1.) Can you tell us a little bit about your personal background and who the cute little boy in the picture is?
Growing up as a kid, my family travelled a lot and lived in different countries. We were very close and still are even though we don’t live in the same city. I’ve worked for over 18 years as an Art Director in the advertising industry. My husband Ian MacPherson is a commercial photographer. We combined our talents in 2007 to create LMNOP. The cute boy in the picture with me is our 4-year-old son Riley. He’s definitely the joy of our lives.LMNOP_desk  

{Jenny's desk}
2.) I have met you via your gorgeous online magazine LMNOP, why did you start this magazine and what are your future plans for LMNOP?
I’ve always loved reading magazines. So when I became a parent I started to seek out parenting titles, but couldn’t find one I liked. Ian and I saw a gap in the market for a contemporary publication for parents and their children. Something that was beautifully designed, clever, fun and entertaining. And that showcased unique children’s products from around the world.
We also realised there wasn’t really a great, affordable place for small businesses in the children’s market to advertise other than in newsstand publications. So we founded LMNOP in October 07 and launched our first issue online a couple of months later in December 07. We have big plans for LMNOP – stay tuned!LMNOP-Photoshoot

{Photoshoot for LMNOP}
3.) What does making an online magazine like LMNOP involve and which parts do you really like and what would you rather like to skip?
At LMNOP we conceptualize and photograph 95% of what you see in the magazine. It’s a lot of work. But we have a small team of very talented people who help us put LMNOP together. We brainstorm story ideas at length. And spend a lot of time sourcing unique products and brands to showcase in each issue. Once we know what’s coming in to be featured, Ian and I collaborate and start conceptualising  each story. Production commences shortly after – sourcing backgrounds and props, finding locations, and finally the photo shoots. Then the design and copy writing happens.
I really enjoy collaborating with contributors from all over the world and discovering unique things for parents and their kids. Releasing a new issue each quarter is definitely the highlight though. And the only part of my job that I’d prefer to skip is the late nights that I work. It can be pretty grueling sometimes.LMNOP_livingroom

{The livingroom}
4.) Where and in what kind of house do you live and with whom? What do you really like about your house?
We live in a heritage listed 1920’s house. I live here with my husband Ian and our son Riley. It’s an older style home so it has lots of character and lovely features. All the rooms have ornate ceilings and we have a small courtyard out the back. It’s a tiny house and sometimes I wish we had more space, but it’s in a fantastic location close to the city. There is a lovely park and playground at the end of our street, which we go to quite often.LMNOP-propery_jenny LMNOP-propery

{The Propery, Jenny and Pearl Fay (LMNOP Senior Stylist) searching for props. And Propery, table with items}
5.) I received some great images from you at the Propery, what exactly is the Propery and why do you like to go there, what kind of items are you particularly interested in? Is the Propery also a place where you search for props for your magazine?
The Propery is a fantastic bespoke props hire business here in Sydney. We often go there to search for items and surfaces to use as props in photo shoots. You can find all sorts of things there from vintage suitcases to exquisite crockery pieces from France. Pearl and I can spend hours there.LMNOP_livingroom

{Jenny's son's drawings on the wall}
6.) Your house doesn’t look cluttered, but very clean and well-organised, how do you balance your love for buying vintage and collectors items with keeping your house open and spacious?
We tidied up for the tour. It’s rarely this uncluttered. Ian and I are constantly picking up Riley’s toys. I believe when children enter your life you have to be prepared to share your space with them – and that means letting them have the freedom to spread their toys and activities around. That’s how they play. Riley loves to stick his drawings all over our walls. So we let him. I’ve recently started to only pick up the house at the end of the day too – once he’s in bed. The mess doesn’t drive me so crazy now. I think any mother can relate.
All of the pieces I’ve bought over the years are safely tucked away in the attic at the moment. Our house is small so we don’t have the room to clutter it up with too many things. Certain pieces come down from the attic at Christmas time – I love collecting vintage ornaments.  One day when we have a bigger house we’ll get to enjoy some of the things we’ve collected over the years.LMNOP_Childs_rack

{Son's bedroom and clothing rack}
7.)Is this great clothing rack hanging in your son’s bedroom? What kind of toys does he really like to play with and what do you encourage him to play with?
It was a hand-made gift from a very good friend of mine. I had seen a picture in a magazine of one similar and was telling him how much I liked it and how I wished I could have it for the nursery I was decorating. He surprised me a few months later with this gorgeous shelf. Gifts that people make you are truly special. I love this piece.LMNOP_Childs-Room

{Son's bedroom}
8.)I love the framed print above the drawer very much, where does it come from and who made it?
I used to collect vintage children’s playing cards, colouring books, cloth books and flash cards. I’d have my favourites box-framed and then hang them in Riley’s room. We have so many. I rotate them often so we get to enjoy all of them.LMNOP-quilt_boyroom

{Quilt and artwork from Riley}
9.) Do you make these quilts yourself? What are your hobbies and do you involve your son in these?
Before Riley was born I use to make quilts in my spare time. I have so many unfinished projects – this is just one of them. Each of the nursery rhyme squares has different textured fabrics and embellishments incorporated in to them. I have a HUGE collection of fabrics and hope to find the time to get back to quilting again someday. Sewing was always a great form of relaxation for me.
Another hobby of mine is baking, which is something that I’ve done with my son from a very young age. Riley helps me measure out the ingredients and stands close by when it’s time to lick the bowl. There is always something sweet to eat at our house so it can be a dangerous place to visit if you’re watching what you eat!  I love to try new recipes. I’ve been on the search for the perfect cinnamon roll recipe for years now and have tried many versions. I finally found ‘the’ recipe a few weeks ago. That felt like an achievement I tell you.LMNOP-bedroom

{The Bedroom}
10.) The framed family images bring such a serene and special feel to the bedroom, do you have any other decorating tips for us how to make a bedroom warm and cozy?
My husband made this bed head for me as a gift when Riley was born. It’s a great place to display photographs, with shelves concealed in each side for our favourite books and magazines. It helps to keep everything organized. I love using flowers through out the house too – I think they always lift a room.


{Garden party}
11.) Please tell us more about this party, the superb decorations, cakes, cookies and what did you do during the party?
We recently celebrated Riley’s 4th birthday with a rather large party. We always celebrated birthdays big in my family growing up and I’ve continued the tradition. I spend weeks planning and preparing for it. My friends think I’m nuts, but I truly enjoy making everything and creating a magical day for my son. This year I baked Smartie cookies (the kids love eating them off a stick!) and a rainbow birthday cake. I recently discovered Cookie Couture Nadine Ingram’s wonderful bakery here in Sydney. I asked her to make some cookie medals to hand out as prizes after some party games. Nadine also made the number 4 gingerbread cookies which I used to tuck into the party favor bags. The vintage party blowers are lovely aren’t they? I found those at my favourite toy store, Monkey Puzzle in Summer Hill.LMNOP-typewriter

{The Typewriter}
12.)… and finally what is your magic tip to start something for yourself, work from home and combine this with being a mom?
Don’t procrastinate! I never spend too much time thinking about whether I’m making the right decision or not. Choose something that you are passionate about. It sounds cliché but it’s SO true. And include your children in your business where ever you can. Riley is never far from us when we are working. I also try to get as much work done during the evening as I can. It’s always fun to get an email response at 3AM from another mother who is making the most of a quiet house like I am.

..LMNOP.. LMNOP issues for free here.. Jenny..

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