recent posts

social media menu

August break

I'm taking a break for the rest of August. I hope you have a good rest of the summer, and – bar a couple of already scheduled posts – I will be back in September...

Want to find out more about John Hinde postcards, like this one above? There's plenty to read here

The Ryan Gosling colouring book

OK, yes, so I'm meant to be taking time out from blogging. But there was always going to be the odd item that I couldn't pass up. 

The Ryan Gosling Colouring book is one of those items. Total genius.

Buy it for £7.50 from Maiden.

Pedlars book: the design crew

Hurrah! Here is the beautiful book by Caroline and Charlie Gladstone of Pedlars, which I worked on with them.

Although not published until later this month, those in the know can get in early to buy their copy (link below).

Below is a little preview of some of the pages inside.

As you can see, it is beautifully designed (and – though I say so from a vastly biased perspective! – would make a lovely gift for anyone with children and a tent, walking fans – but also urbanites who just want to make friends with the countryside from the armchair).

Here is the link to buy an early copy from Pedlars.

And in celebration of the book's beautiful appearance, I wanted to share a little bit about the talent behind that side of the book.

The overall look of the book comes from the insanely creative design agency, Mercy, based in Liverpool and London. Here is some of their other work...

Above is the logo the designed for for the National Association of Literature Development, which I would happily frame and hang on my wall.

And these are some rather beautiful and thought-prompting postcards, which they sent out to a few lucky people (me included) last year.
And their current t-shirt range, which they sell in their online shop: Bearfaced T-shirt and Bleeding Lips T-shirt, £10 each.

They also produce a very nice looking regular e-zine too. Here (above) is the cover of the current edition.

As for the illustration side of things, that is down to the talent of Matt Blease, who – I have heard – is the fastest drawer in southern England.

You may have seen some of Matt's work in the Guardian, or... in the window at Liberty, in a tie-in with the V&A's 2011 Cult of Beauty exhibition (see his wondrous wallpaper design, above)...

...or you might have hankered after one of his beautiful prints, which Pedlars sell, including (see above and below) this Olympics-themed one, £245 (framed) and Run London, £270 (framed) and Walk the Dog, £100 (framed).

The stunning photography in the book comes via Tim Winter, who shoots all the gorgeous Pedlars catalogues.

Dog prints

Did you know that the excellent Design Milk has a sister site, Dog Milk, dedicated to dog-related design? Me neither. Niche. But I do find a bit of dog / home paraphernalia, well-done, hard to resist.

And these clean, graphic canine breed prints, by US artist, Josh Brill – which I discovered there – definitely fall into that category.

They are part of his Flora: fauna range, which also features birds and mammals. I like that the sales page for each dog type (and there are seven) has a snappy breed description. Nice touch.

Clockwise from top left: limited edition (x100) German ShepherdJack Russell, Beagle and Pug prints, $25 (10" x 7") or $60 (17" x 12") each.

In other dog / interiors news – Ikea has started a "dog parking" facility in its Berlin store. Excellent – but what about Croydon?

Introducing... Chido Bueno

Chido Bueno perked up my computer screen when the excellent Supermarket Sarah devoted one of her shopping walls to this Mexican accessories brand. The weather was horrific, and Chido Bueno's wares were a blaze of holiday sunshine in my face – glorious tomato reds, aqua blues, purple-and-fuchsia-draped Virgin Marys and nattily dressed Day of the Dead skeletons.

I liked it. So I tapped up the colour crazy duo behind Chido Bueno to find out more about what they do, why they do it, where they do it and how to make it look brilliant in a house unused to such excellently Mexican ways. I'll hand you over...

Layla and Felicity (behind); aka Chido Bueno
Chido Bueno are... "Two sisters, Felicity and Layla (me), separated by the Atlantic; I'm in Mexico, Felicity is in London. We wanted to show the world what misunderstood Mexico has to offer –  beyond big sombreros, drug dealers and tequila (artisanal mescal is much better!). We find gifted artisans in Mexico to design, make and source beautiful, unique and hand-made home and fashion accessories – which we sell via our website and Etsy shop.

From top, left to right: cushions from £42; recycled Hojalata kissing dove mirror, £25; large recycled Hojalata kissing doves mirror, £38; large recycled Hojalata winged heart mirror, £35
"I have been living in Mexico for seven years, and have experience working with indigenous groups here. Felicity – a social scientist/artist/photographer/designer – lives in London, with frequent long stays in Mexico. 

"We are both passionate about sustainable development and having a positive impact on the lives of the people we work with. We started Chido Bueno because of our love of Mexican culture, textiles and colour.  

"Mexico has a rich and incredible cultural heritage, which can be seen in its amazing handicrafts and textiles.  Our strongest influence as designers are Mexico's vibrant colours. Their hedonistic approach to colour fills you with joy. We work directly with Mexican artisans to produce beautiful and classic pieces with a modern twist – influenced by our having grown up in London.

"The women of el Istmo in southern Mexico are a special inspiration to us. They are powerful women with an equally powerful aesthetic, which celebrates colour. The ‘huipiles’ or boxy blouse, with matching skirts are hand embroidered for each social event. Women work for months on their outfit to prove their skill and make an impact at a party. They fill their tops and skirts with large flowers or geometric box designs and load themselves with ‘fantasy’ gold. They are completely committed to their unique aesthetic, with no regard for practicality – their party outfits, with all their embroidery and velvet, weigh a ton.

Collection of some of the clothes embroidered by mother and daughter over their lifetimes
"Velvet was a more ‘recent’ addition based on the dictator Porfirio Diaz’s obsession with gay Paris and his lover Juana Cata’s travels between the Istmo and France bringing new influences. Foreign influences can be taken on board by Mexican artisans as their own, which can be positive when it comes to an amazing (if sweaty) huiple but sad when it undermines their heritage and huipiles are replaced with factory made rhinestoned t-shirts… Chido Bueno wants traditions to last, develop and grow not die out.

"Not reigned in by ‘rules', women go for clashing bold colours and optimum impact. Polka dots are very popular, combined with criss-cross box designs. Frida Kahlo wore traditional Itsmo dress in some of her most famous images.

A selection of headdresses from the Istmo on display in a market these are worn mostly for fiestas
"In Mexico you can dress yourself as you’d ‘dress’ your house – they are unique representations of each person. Contrast is very important. The good thing about colour is that you can add it bit by bit to your home, with a bright bowl in an unexpected place, a colourful cushion on a bed… until you get addicted!

A house in Oaxaca, blue with red details
"The white in the house image, above, acts as a release of colour on the corner. Most houses are painted with bright, contrasting colours, with window and doorframes painted in complementary hues. The use of block colour is easily transferable into the UK context, try juxtaposing a turquoise garden wall next to your terracotta potted summer flowers.

"Our embroidered cushion covers made from vintage ‘huipiles’ (see top images) are a great way to bring Mexican colour and warmth into your home. One blouse is used to create one matching pair of covers. Each set is therefore completely unique.

"Tin is bright and bold and can cheer up any space. The recycled tin mirrors we sell at Chido Bueno (see top image, and also here) are all cut, beaten and painted by hand by Arturo Perez.

Recycled tin hojalata skeletons, from £3 each
"A small injection of colour into your home can make a big difference to your day. The Mexican aesthetic is about having fun, playing and experimenting.  It’s about realising that there’s no wrong or right.  It’s about finding beauty in what’s day to day.

Photography: Nikhol EsterĂ¡s Roberts; Felicity Meerloo; Layla Meerloo; Susannah Rigg