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Living Retro

July 26, 2016

I’m so excited! I can once again introduce you to a wonderful new book. This time I’m saying – lets travel around the World RETRO style.

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I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of retro (bulky hand-held cellphones? 1970s patterned wallpapers? nah, not for me…). I’m also not into anything modern. I guess I’d rather have a mixture of rustic and chabby chic, also a mishmash of boho and vintage in my house; I’m sure you understand that this has nothing to do with our recent past. Nevertheless I was nicely surprised by Living Retro by Andrew Weaving.

 

My definition of retro must have been pretty narrow (anything that’s out of date basically…), which of course made me imagine boring and oldfashioned interiors, that could even scare me I’ve accidently traveled back in time! According to Andrew Weaving “living retro is a multi-faceted look that ranges from sophisticated glamour to paired-down chic, allowing its followers to cherry-pick their favourite pieces from the cream of twentieth-century design”. Of course this definition is much better, it gives freedom to create interiors that are not TOO retro, if you know what I mean.

 

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All you need is “a passion for vintage furniture and an understanding of the very best of twentieth-century design”. Does this sound complicated? Then you should learn some more and the best (and probably the easiest) way to do this is to analyse some retro interiors traveling around the world. Andrew Weaving and photographer Andrew Wood collected 18 inspiring locations! London, Paris, Copenhagen, Palm Springs…

 

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I would have never believed that retro interiors could be so different. In this book you will find perfect simplicity, funky fifties and even discreet charm and sophisticated glamour.

 

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Apparently, “those who choose to live retro generally fall into one of three main cetegories”. We have “the purists – perfectionists who seek to recreate a specific moment in time in their home, and to put together an interior that is entirely faithful to the building that houses it”. We also have retro lovers who “have a certain signature style  of their own … this trademark look is stamped upon their home, no matter how often they move or where they go”. And the last category… “the maximalists – magpies who have a passion for collecting vintage pieces and playfully … displaying their favourite finds”. Do you recognise yourself?

 

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Living Retro is a beautifully published journey into our recent past. It is very informative and very inspiring. If before I said I wasn’t into anything retro, now I can honestly say I’ve changed my mind. I haven’t turned into a purist of course, but I could easily join people who don’t enjoy playing by the rules and try to develope their own signature style. (By the way, at the end of this book you will find a great suppliers list, so if you become a retro fan you can start your own Living Retro project right away!)

 

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Living Retro by Andrew Weaving, published by Ryland Peters & Small. Photography by Andrew Wood © Ryland Peters & Small

 

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Live the Life

July 19, 2016
The last time I tried to send out my message to the World I thought that being away for a month is a terrible sin, so have a guess how I feel now. Two months… Two long months!!! May must have somehow unnoticebly turned into June and then June into July… Has this happened to you as well? Please tell me it has. (I bet that next I won’t notice how July will turn into December and then… we will have to start everything all over again.)

The first half of summer is behind our backs, yet I can’t say I had a rest. Why? I’ve taken on a MASSIVE project, which consumes probably about 80% of my time (the rest is for sleeping and all other insignificant chores). This project is called MY very own Garden (I say this with a very proud intonation, so please go back and read this sentence once again, this time do it pro-per-ly). I can assure you it’s very exciting, but also very tireing…

I know what MY Garden has to look like  – you must have seen these pretty English cottage gardens with plenty of green hideaways and huge French hydrangeas next to a field of lavander, and perfectly neat German vegetable rows with crops molded to fit all EU regulations, right? So something along these lines. But there’s a slight hmm… I wouldn’t call it a problem, maybe just a little disadvantage – I’m starting everything from an absolute zero! Basically a meadow has to magically be transformed into an award winning estate.

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There’s no electricity, BUT we have a lovely pond and a watering can. I also have a few spades, a rake and a pitch fork. You must admit , I’m really optimistic these days! Joking aside, working there feels like we are the very first settlers somewhere in the Wild Wild West – conquering new territories (you should see me in my cowboy hat… and muddy pink wellies).

Anyway, at the moment everything seems really simple – the more I plant this year, the better my flower beds and vegetable patch will look next summer, so I’m putting loads of effort and energy into this project of mine. And, even if I don’t succeed (impossible!), I’m happy to be learning new things each day.
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I’ll leave all of you (and epecially my new followers, who decided to join me even though I wasn’t posting anything new – thank you!) with a piece of advice:

“Live the Life of Your Dreams.
When you start living the life of your dreams, there will always be obstacles, doubters, mistakes and setbacks along the way. But with hard work, perseverance and self-belief there is no limit to what you can achieve.”
― Roy T. Bennett

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Lets Make It a Month

May 16, 2016

Unbelievable, but… I’ve been away for a month. This away of mine is not a real away, if you know what I mean. I didn’t go anywhere, I just had too much on my hands and, sadly, on my mind. Blogging is (or should I say was?) one of my healthy habits, that I don’t avoid, but I’ve been running out of steam lately, so something had to give… (just like reading before bed, trying out new recipes, taking photographs, painting and experimenting in my so called studio).

Anyway… it’s been a month, a bad patch, that hopefully has come to an end.

How has your May been so far?

Our garden seems to have recovered well after the fierce winter spells (looking at it I’ll also have to once again pull myself together... inspiration has to be drawn from Nature at all times – it never gives up). I’m still not sure about a few roses, but everything else is thriving – even the lawn seems to be doing better than ever.

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I can already see that this is going to be a summer of cherries and apples.

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Buckets of mouthwatering fruit… and probably stomach ache, that follows if you forget how to stop. This happens every summer, we never learn. (By the way, I still have to think of a good way to scare the birds away before the cherries go ripe, if you have any ideas, please let me know.)

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I might have been caught up in a big obligations’ and responsibilities’ web, but who isn’t? Sometimes it gets worse, but it doesn’t stay this way forever and sooner or later you notice that something you’ve been working on has turned into… hmm… something? (I’m such a philosopher… Philosopher with a very small vocabulary.)

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Just look at my seedlings, that are ready to be moved into the big garden world out there. It’s hard to believe that once these were tiny tiny seeds!

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Basil

Colleus

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At the moment everything’s about colour, growth and quick changes. I’m trying to stay focused and work like a bee (I’ve finally started my very own garden, which is just a plowed meadow more or less; it will probably take me at least 10 years to turn it into a garden I imagine). Quite often it’s hard to find a gap for a short walk and an impromptu photoshoot, so I’m really glad I’m finally getting back to blogging.

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No more regrets. I promise to show you and tell you EVERYTHING I find extremely beautiful, exciting or clever. Hopefully you’re ready to hear me out after that month of silence.

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Bright & Pretty

April 12, 2016

Another unexpected two week break…

The prettiest month of the year has started and the weather has been far better than it usually is at the beginning of April (the temperatures are really weird – it was actually hot today!), but I’m in a really bad mood. This bad hides sadness and quickly spreading melancholy, so I really need good news, uplifting stories, bright colours and anything that I would find inspiring.

I’ll leave you with a bunch of brilliant paintings. If they can’t revoke positive emotions, then I don’t know what can…

American artist John Powell is a magician! (Make sure you visit his personal website.)

Bamboo and Autumn Orchids

John Powell – Bamboo and Autumn Orchids

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John Powell – Courtyard Haven

Primrose Pot

John Powell – Primrose Pot

Summer Peaches and Dragons

John Powell – Summer Peaches and Dragons

Mangos and Matilijas

John Powell – Mangos and Matilijas

Figs and Peonies

John Powell – Figs and Peonies

What do you think?

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#StudioStory – March

March 31, 2016

It seems this is my last chance to show you what I’ve been working on in March…. (Tomorrow starts the pretties month of the year, right?) I can’t believe that time can fly so fast – thirty one days went almost unnoticed; mostly waiting for warmer days, looking at gardening magazines and planning new landscapes (that in real life no doubt won’t look anything as pretty as they do in my imagination).

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Well, I disappeared from this virtual blog world for two weeks, but it doesn’t mean I was fiddling my thumbs! I have finally started working on some lino cuts. (I also have at least two new projects that are just one step away from being finished, so hopefully I’ll be showing these some time soon as well.) Anyway… I bought proper tools, lino and paint for printing probably more than a year ago (if not two…), but never had the chance to enjoy the whole process of slowly cutting out pretty things. This time I took my time.

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At first I did a few sketches.  I started with a pineapple, just because I thought it would be nice to use it for printing on fabric (one more project for summer!), and later on came up with more and more ideas… One of them was a bird cage.

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I didn’t risk putting a bird inside it, I was worried it would come out just like some blob, so it became an open cage with two flying feathers.

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After I made the first or you could say test prints I saw what could be improved, but this will have to wait… I also decided I would like to get red, blue and green printing ink/paint and probably a smaller roller. These feathers could be other colour than black, don’t you think? It would be easy enough to cover them in other colour with a smaller tool.

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As you can see I’m working on small pictures at the moment (right now I’m trying to come up with a lovely fox stamp, that I intend to give as a present to my friend whose surname happens to be Mr.Fox; you can have a sneak peek on Instagram). Hopefully my linocuts will get bigger and more complicated with time… or maybe I’ll even master wood cutting? Would be nice.

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Easter and Creativity

March 29, 2016

After two weeks of silence… I’m back.

I’m not sure how much time I will be able to devote to blogging as we have finally entered the busiest period of the year (for gardeners that is), when every minute spent on things other than seeds or seedlings is a minute wasted, but I will try to do my best! (For everyone who’s laughing at my busy sowing timetable – I’ve recently bought a climbing rose and its hardiness is described as H6. This scale has only seven stages – it starts with H1, marking plants that are extremely sensitive to cold conditions, and ends with H7, describing plants that can survive temperatures below -20C. So as you can imagine H6, being nearly at the end, is pretty bad. Our gardening season is really short, no wonder we have to invest lots of time and effort in order to prolong it.)

Well, first of all I hope you had a lovely Easter? I did. The weather was brilliant, so we went for quite a few walks along the coast. Oh, and I’m especially glad I learned something new – an interesting egg “painting” technique! You could try it out next weekend, to celebrate Sunday after Easter. Actually this is an easier version of decoupage and it’s finally something different to painting eggs using onion skins, which we have been doing for years.

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You need: boiled eggs, pretty napkins, a small paint brush and some egg white.

Instructions: lay only the very thin top layer of the napkin on your egg (tear out pretty motifs) and, using a small paint brush, paint egg white over the top of it. It will stick to your egg and you will be able to add another picture/motif. Keep collaging napkin pieces till you’ve covered the whole of your egg. Everything will dry in about ten minutes.

Well, I hope that spring time has brought you loads of energy and enthusiasm to start new projects (and finish old ones). But if you get stuck (like I was for the last few weeks), here’s what I’ve found – 10 Creativity Exercises to Overcome Your Fears – please click here.

I read this article and found so many familiar situations! For e.g. looking around and deciding that my space’s too chaotic, so I’d better do some housework… or thinking that tomorrow’s going to be a better day for painting… or worrying that my work is not good enough. If you recognize yourself, make sure you try to put your fear in its place! Do the opposite of perfect, commit and finish, give yourself permission to do things badly etc. Take action and start with this great article.

Anyway, enough for now. Simply remember some woman’s wise words –  “we are here to create”! I’m wishing you all a belated HAPPY Easter and lets meet soon again.

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Coastal Matters

March 14, 2016

As the days are getting longer and sunnier it’s time to start thinking about summer. Yes, yes, summer. Lets skip spring! (Of course I’m only joking – lets enjoy spring and hope for a very warm April and May.)

At the moment I’m really eager to get outdoors, to start my new garden, to sow heaps of flower seeds, to have our first picnic or BBQ this year… (In a month or so I will be complaining about my aching back as gardening isn’t an easy occupation after all.) Well, we are finally working on our BIG piece of land, which happens to be on the coast, no wonder my mind’s occupied not only with planting schemes, but also with various summery coastal projects.

Here’s what I’ve been carrying in my coat pocket for the last few weeks (there also were quite a few old receipts and other rubbish, but it wouldn’t have looked good in this photo):

Small coat pocket sea glass collection

Small coat pocket sea glass collection

I’ve seen so many fabulous driftwood sculptures, nautical flags, sea glass and shell collections, stripped pillow cases (thank you, Pinterest) – I’ve gathered so many ideas that I will use to create my own coastal retreat! The only thing I have to do now is… to get a move on with making all this stuff. By the way, I’ve already started. I’ve started with a simple jar wrapped in so called fishnet.

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What’s needed:

an ordinary glass jar or a bottle
jute string
scissors
glue

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I’m not planning on showing you how it’s done. It’s really easy. You can find this and many other lovely projects and tutorials on my Coastal Decor board on Pinterest. Just don’t forget that it’s always really rewarding to have something made yourself, so I encourage you to also get a move on with making stuff – whatever comes to your mind, make it happen.

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