Thursday, 1 September 2016

Ciao Bella!

Its Jesster!

I have just returned from a 10 day holiday in Venice. The hotel was on an island in the lagoon, about a 20 minute boat ride from St Mark's Square, which suited us well as I had my 5 year old son with me. As much as I love getting lost through the narrow alleys of Venice, and exploring the archways and canals, my son was more interested in playing in the hotel’s swimming pool… and who was to blame him in the heat of August!

A Gondola ride is a must!

One of the days we hired a water taxi (which I highly recommend) for the day and took off to the islands of Murano, known for its world class hand blown glass art, and the colorful island of Burano, known for its intricate lace work, and back through the Grand Canal to our hotel. It was an amazing day.  I was captivated by the craftsmanship of the glass blowers, the lace weavers, and the mask makers, and how these skills had been passed down from generation to generation.

the colourful houses of Burano

Italy is renowned for its artisans and it made me think of how skills such these, as well as textile hand separation artists, sewers, weavers, and many more, are in danger of being lost as demand for them falls in this digital world we live in.

A beautiful display of handmade Venetian Masks

We were told repeatedly that the younger generation was uninterested in learning such labour intensive, time consuming skills for relatively little remuneration so these traditional crafts were now in the hands of an ageing population and are at risk of fading away forever. For example, on Burano the youngest lace maker was 50 years old while the oldest was 94 years.

an example of Burano lace

a lace border for a pillow

I still believe that in this digital world we live in there is a place for traditional hand crafted work, unfortunately this often equates to a high price tag. A linen handkerchief with a small handmade lace insert was 49 Euros. A magnificent lace table cloth which had taken two years to make was substantially more. Our life styles, if not our pockets, are often out of sync with this.

handblown Murano glass lights at Simone Cendese

watching the artisans at work

It is encouraging however that so many people are now learning to knit, weave, sew, upholster, upcycle etc as a leisure activity. Even on Burano there was a school which offered short courses to learn the basics of lace making for pleasure rather than profit. The rise of sites like Folksy, Etsy and notonthehighstreet are evidence of this renaissance of an interest in items which are handmade, individual and charming.

We want our homes to reflect ourselves and our interests and personalities and what better way to do it than with a handcrafted item, especially one that doesn't cost a fortune. 

screen printed velvet at Antonia Sautter

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

How to Mix Patterns Like the Pros

Sir Mix A Lot is in Da House!

Dandylion Designs "Fandango" with Casadeco "Moire" 

Combining prints brings excitement to a room—but how do you make it work? Set small patterns against large ones, limit your palette, and include one big solid (on sofa, floor, or wall) in the scene.

Kit Kemp Haymarket Hotel

Try starting out with 3 varying scaled patterns. Try a large floral, one medium geometric and one small classic pattern or stripe to work with.

Kit Kemp, design director of the Firmdale Hotel group in London, is a renowned master of mixing colors and patterns. She suggests to begin with selecting a large-scale print with several colors , then build off the colours from within this. Make sure to counter big, bold patterns with areas of solid color or neutrals.

Kit Kemp Number Sixteen

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Flower Power

Flower Power!

Adding cut flowers is the quickest and easiest way to add life to any room.
It just makes your home prettier!

It seems like a simple tip, but adding floral arrangements, live plants and natural items such as vases of shells or rocks, can really add that final touch to your interior scheme. (

As if you needed any more reasons to add flowers to your home, researchers claim that smelling floral scents can to put us in a good mood and make us feel less anxious and stressed. Bonus!

Different types of flowers can have different affects on your mood, less saturated and brighter colors are generally more relaxing, while bold saturated colors will energize you. (

Friday, 24 July 2015

Tennis, anyone?

Wimbledon White
(blog written but never posted..duh! Better late than never...)

Strawberries, Cream, Pimms, and anyone for tennis? Yes, that’s right Wimbledon is right around the corner and this means white is the colour of the month.

Wimbledon means white. White on white on white, with possibly a very small hint of colour, maybe a trim on a trainer or a hairband. I think the official rules state that no more than 1cm of coloured trim is allowed. The more white the better when it comes to this tournament.

What about all white in your home?

Uhmm… well, Mr Dandylion mantra’s is more along the lines of Iris Apfel’s “More is more, and less is a bore.” However, all white interiors can look clean, modern, crisp, and have an air of mystery about it. After all, it is a blank canvas. The colour of perfection.

White is very versatile.

“A monochrome palette creates an unassuming space, where the subtleties of form and shadow can steal the focus.” --Homelife

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

If We Took a Holiday...Oh yeah!

How about a TROPICAL escape?

Bright, vibrant, tropical florals and fauna are the keys to turning your home into a sunny faraway vacation.

We only need to have looked at the catwalks to see that this fresh summery trend would soon be entering our homes.

Image: Bloglovin'

How will you embrace this trend?

Dandylion Designs "Bossa Nova"

I’ll be making sure I add a little of Dandylion Designs “Bossa Nova” which captures the mood and the heady languor of summer with full blooms and sinuous palm trees swaying smoothly in soft sea breezes. I will imagine myself being whisked away on these zephyrs to stunning Copacabana, where I will enjoy the exotic sights and sounds while sipping a Caipirinha.

Bossa Nova Cassis

Bossa Nova Curacao

Bossa Nova Grenadine

Bossa Nova Sambuca

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

EGG-celent Easter Entertaining

The long weekend is almost here, and I know I am looking forward to a few days off and eating chocolate to my heart’s content. Let’s hope this Easter brings some lovely warm weather with it!

Easter is usually a time for some great get-togethers, and I just wanted to share a few of my handy dandy entertaining tips.

I like to make things as easy as possible so that I can enjoy myself as well…so the big thing is KEEP IT SIMPLE!

Decorate with spring flowers , painted eggs , or even tissue paper garlands… anything that will give a nice colour pop to a room.

Very creative decorating ideas on

Honeycomb Garland from

Use a bright coloured linen to dress up your table… maybe even one from the Dandylion range? 

Lovely table setting from

Or use a white table cloth and have pops of colour, whether it be with coloured napkins, flowers , or vases filled with Easter eggs or sweeties. The possibilities are endless!

Learn how to fold Bunny Ears Napkins on You Tube

Foiled chocolate eggs in an antiqued vase

I’d love to hear what your plans for Easter are and any tips you may have.

Have a hippity-hoppity Easter everyone!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Favourite Places: Nashville

Oh the Places we Go!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

I love to explore new places...not just travelling to other countries but new local places. Trying new restaurants and bars, exploring boutiques, museums, vintage shops, and local markets inspire me and certainly help the creative juices flow.

Part 1: Nashville

I recently visited a friend in Nashville, and as we all know Nashville is known for its music, and don’t get me wrong we did enjoy some top quality live music and hit up Broadway and it's honky tonk, but it’s the amazing design in this bar, restaurant, coffee shop, and bowling alley that stick out for me… yes, a bowling alley!

Patterson House: Step back to the times of Prohibition and enter the Patterson House. Take a step behind the ceiling to floor grey velvet curtain and enter a “Speakeasy” bar with such a cool, mellow and intimate vibe. The dimly lit interior enhanced by dark chestnut wood and contrasted with sparks of silver and ivory gives the bar a feeling that you have entered a relaxing study or library. In the centre of the room sits the bar, with row upon row of different coloured spirits, bitters and syrups that makes it look like a old-wordly apothecary. The cocktails are incredible, a bit special, like the Bacon Infused Old Fashion. The food is amazing, small plates but worth every bite! It is a very, very cool place!

Check out the metal tiles on the ceiling.

Bacon Infused Old Fashion with real bacon drippings!
(All Images from Flickr)

Virago: An Asian-fusion and sushi restaurant with a hip, Asian inspired design. Dim lanterns, sunken and elevated spaces, tiger wood paneling, a ceiling of chopsticks, exposed brick, glass tiles, and polished stone floors, are all part of the this zen-like interior that gives this space an upscale trendy feel. I ordered sushi and sake, as good sushi is nonexistent where I live. It certainly wasn’t the best sushi I’ve ever had, as I was spoiled living on the Californian coast for 8 years, but it wasn’t bad either, and probably the best in Nashville. It certainly deserves a big roar for creativity! Check out the “Bomb” … shrimp tempura, avocado and asparagus topped with baked jumbo lump crab and spicy mayo! The chilled sake menu is incredible, apparently most extensive sake inventory in Nashville. So take your pick!

Recycled cardboard lamps by Graypants. Image credit Build LLC

The Bomb! (Image courtesy of The Spinach Tiger)

Pinewood Social: I’m not sure I can put down in words how utterly awesome this place is…but I will try. My friend told me that we were going bowling and we’d grab some lunch. I imagined smelly shoes, a juke box that played 70’s disco, cheap beer, greasy food, and everywhere having that lingering smell of cigarettes. (This may have appealed to me at some point but I like to think I’m a bit more sophisticated these days.) Holy moly, was I wrong! It’s a coffee shop, restaurant, bar, internet café, bowling alley, karaoke lounge, pool, and bocce ball court all packaged into one large converted trolley barn, and everything is done absolutely spot on! It’s probably one of the most inspiring places I have ever been, in terms of interior décor. The food and drink are also a first class culinary experience. We had reservations (you need reservations!) for bowling and nestled in the back is a 6 lane retro bowling alley. The lanes are made from reclaimed pinewood, hence the name, from an old, forgotten Bowl a Rama, and the old school ball return, and scoring system make this have an uber cool vintage vibe! The neon sign and the huge mural/art installation are the icing on the cake, or the strike to the spare!

The whole concept of this place is truly inspiring. In an interview with Forbes Travel Guide, Ben Goldberg explains that his inspiration came from The Great Good Place, a book by Ray Oldenburg that explores the importance of public gathering spaces… “The book talks about how, in America, most people’s lives are centered around going to work and going home. But in other countries, people have this dynamic third space, whether it’s a park, pub or shop — somewhere they hang out outside of their work and their home. The book argues that there’s more to life than going home with your family and going to work with your co-workers and that, if you’re able to find a third space that’s dynamic enough and you can meet and engage with people there, your life tends to be happier.” My friend and I definitely found our third space for the day! Whether you want to eat, relax, drink, bowl, swim, or sing, this place has something for everyone.

The entrance that was an old trolley barn (Image: Jeff Stamper)

A large table that houses plugs for charging laptops, ipads, phones, etc. (Image: Matt Harrington)

(Image: Jeff Stamper)

The retro bowling alley (Image from Flickr: Josh Bassett)

Artwork by and image credit Isle of Printing
According to the Isle of Printing website, this large scale social experiment can be easily changed and each month the cans will be rearranged to form a new pattern. So cool!!!
"Change is inevitable and that is the point." - Isle of Printing

The retro bowling alley (Image from Flickr: Josh Bassett)

The super cool bowling socks and shoes!

If you don't want to use the old fashioned scoring system..use an Ipad!

Edgehill Café: An eclectic, industrial, quaint, mish-mash (is this a word? You know what I mean..) of a coffee shop right in the heart of Music Row. Large windows light up the space and highlight the perfect mix of wood paneling and stained concrete floors. The space is softened with huge wingback chairs and cushions upholstered with burlap coffee bean sacks! I love it! The bare drop lightbulbs, to blown glass, and shades that look like vintage milk bottles add to the homey feel where you can find your own nook and work, relax, chat, drink coffee, or eat as long as you want! I’ve not mentioned the food yet… I had the Grilled PBCB. Are you ready for this?.... Peanut butter, chocolate and banana sandwich pan grilled to perfection between 2 slices of sourdough. That’s right. And I ate it all! The menu is extensive serving both savoury and sweet breakfast items, as well as some incredible lunches. The coffee is also very creative, for example the Hiyah! which is coffee plus 2 shots of espresso, with hazelnut, cinnamon, and steamed half and half. I had a plain ol’ iced Americano, which is obviously not creative, but very easy to mess up. The lovely barista made a most-excellent iced Americano with a just a perfect drop of milk!

PBCB! Im getting hungry just looking at this!

Have you been to Nashville? What are some of your favourite places?