Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Mollycroft

We wanted somewhere lovely and not too far to drive where we could all hang out together for a few days and be comfortable enough if it should happen to rain! This beautifully restored 1948 showmans caravan called The Mollycroft in the middle of a peaceful bamboo garden near the Yorkshire Dales National Park was just the place! 

It was colourful and charming and we just about all managed to squeeze in. There was a teeny double bedroom, a long wood paneled living room with a wood burner and a sweet kitchen with two cupboard bunks. The whole place was full of cupboards and compartments with games and books and maps and other surprises to discover.

It had a couple of rings to cook on inside

but LOADS of space outside with everything you could need for outdoor cooking

and marshmallow toasting 

and lounging around under the bamboo.

We all loved the outside shower. The water was always toasty warm and showering at night under the stars was the best!

There was much Scrabbling 

and reading

and exploring.

We had a lovely misty evening stroll up the lane.

The Mollycroft has it's own woodland and a lake a short walk away.

Swimming in the lake was suggested in the Mollycroft handbook

 but we decided we'd prefer to photograph the pond life, rather than get in with it!

The bamboo garden is the passion of the Mollycroft's owner Greville Worthington and it added an exotic twist. As my holiday reading was a travel book about hitchhiking round Japan it wasn't hard to be transported back to those beautiful bamboo groves....especially when I found green tea from Kyoto in the kitchen and a hundred Yen coin in the grass! 

It was altogether a lovely place to relax. I can still feel the freshness of my early morning yoga on the decking with swallows darting over head against a blue sky. I can still hear the wood pigeons cooing their funny little song. I can still smell the wood smoke in our hair and taste those fresh eggs from Greville's Mum's chickens.

I don't miss the earth closet toilet much to be honest but I guess it did add to the adventure!

Thanks Mollycroft. Hope to see you again sometime. x

Moyo Magazine is here!

Today the inaugural issue of Beth Nicholls and Rachael Taylors new magazine has been released. 'Moyo' means pattern in Japanese and it is the first magazine to be completely dedicated to the Art and Business of surface pattern design. It's a very pretty read indeed. Here it is...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Thank you Japan

Our Japan trip is beginning to feel like a distant memory.

So I thought I'd find some pictures that didn't make it into my previous posts and reminisce.

I still miss my bike. It's funny the 'Pink Wobbler' features very often in my dreams at night. Maybe three nights out of four I'm exploring many places and visiting far away friends on my bike.

What is he saying? Beth?

I did hire a rain poncho but didn't fancy mastering the art of cycling in a tent. The Japanese are so cool on their bikes. They ride with one hand and hold their umbrella in the other! I was far from cool! 

One lovely memory of a thunderous day was parking our bikes outside a beautiful kimono shop in the textile district.  The kimonos here were very very expensive and we obviously weren't buying but we were made to feel so welcome. When we left the shop we found owner outside putting plastic bags on our bike seats for us so they didn't get wet. So much kindness.

I miss cycling behind Natalie in her stripy top down beautiful lamp lit Kyoto streets.

Shinbashi Dori in Gion was outstandingly beautiful.

Gion is the Geisha district and it is full of beautiful machiya, the traditional old old houses. Very intriguing.

Everywhere we went in Japan there was something sweet...

or elegant,

or cute,

or a little weird....

and sometimes extreme. Natalie made me go in this slot machine arcade and it was SO unbelievably noisy that it propelled me back out of the door as quickly as I came in. 

We were 'interviewed' a few times by kids on school trips practicing their English. What is your favourite food? What is your favourite colour? 

One of our favourite restaurants was Gonpacci in Roppongi, Tokyo. This place apparently inspired one of Quentin Tarantino's fight scenes in Kill Bill. We had a very happy evening here. 

There food was great and there was loads of atmosphere. Every time a new customer walked in the door the man at front of house would signal and the entire kitchen staff would shout hello. A surprising welcome!

I think I have run out of blog posts now :(

I wish I had had my camera the day we visited the man in the handmade lamp shop. He sold lamps by all sorts of makers in the front of the shop and he had a workshop at the back of the shop where he made things and wired them up. Just like me. The Kyoto me. We had a nice chat with him thanks to Beth's interpreting.

I remember the blog post I wrote the week before our trip when I was really scared. Rossichka commented saying how she remembered being scared of leaving her comfort zone before a trip to Kenya but when she came back it was all she could talk about. That's me all over. I LOVED Japan and my brave girl boots were well and truly worn in when I got home.

I want to thank Beth in a big way for the invitation and the push. Her sense of adventure rubbed off. Be sure to read her Japan posts. She's still there for another six weeks the lucky lady! And thanks to Natalie to who was the best travel companion ever (and she took loads of these pictures).

And if you missed all my previous Japan posts here's a link to all all of them. 

I wonder how soon I will go again....

I hope it's not too long. x

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Behind the scenes at the photo shoot

Our photoshoot was fab. We had an intense and very enjoyable couple of days in my living room setting up shots and photographing lots and lots of lamps. Occasionally we would come up for air and take a trip to the florists or the Antiques Centre for props and inspiration.

I was SO pleased with the wallpapers. They made the perfect backdrop and added a lovely warmth and texture to each picture.

There were so many lamps queuing up to have their picture taken...

waiting for their moment (or 30 moments sometimes) in front of the cameras.

Sarah did a lot of thinking how to get the light just right for each one.

 It varied with every single design so she had her work cut out She is very clever indeed and tackled this tricky job so well.

 Here are my pretend walls. Putting the skirting board on was fun and added to the illusion!

By the end of the day there were props everywhere. Pretty bits a midst the chaos!

Oh and I must say thank you to Tomsk for 'helping' (We hadn't blue tacked him down honest)!

We have so many lovely pictures. Tomorrow is Ffions last day working on the new website. She has been at it 9-5 for six whole weeks (which have flown by...even she says so) and I must say it's looking spectacular. She couldn't wait to get her hands on the new photographs and has settled them into the new site already in her super efficient and no messing about way.

I can't wait to show you!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Hannah Nunn wallpaper???

For the last few months I have been doing the an online course called The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design with Rachael Taylor. It's brilliant an is jam packed full of tutorials, workshops and exercises and I've been squeezing them in to my already busy schedule whenever I can. I'm still very behind but I am loving it and could happily make patterns all day long every day. It's very very satisfying.

On Monday and Tuesday I'm doing a big photo shoot with Sarah of all my lamps for my new website (which is coming along a treat by the way and shouldn't be too long now) and I wanted to create some neutral but textured backgrounds to use in the photographs so I designed some wallpaper. 

Mike at Print Bureau has printed them for me on his big new printer a metre square each and it was very exciting indeed going to pick it up yesterday all rolled up just like the real thing!

It's going to look sweet on my photographs complimenting my lamps and it has given me a lot of inspiration to do more wallpaper designs.

So watch this space. I've even been working with colours too and after ten years of just designing with light and shadow this has been a bit of a revelation :).

Can't wait to show you the pictures...and can't wait to have a whole range of wallpaper!

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