- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.6XeXEVt9.dpuf The Curiosity Project

9 January 2014

Box Swappers- Curiosity Project Is Back!

Happy New Year to you all! That's right, people! When I said "a change goin' come", I meant a change goin come. And here it is...

Curiosity Project, well known for it's gift swapping community is coming back as a fully functioning, all-year-round global experience. No more waiting for me to get my butt in gear and no more waiting for Christmas. You asked, we're making it happen. 

So what's next?
Well, I now have a super, strong team working hard to get the new site up and running. We have gorgeous new branding too-don't you love it?! Because we want to get it right for you there'll be no rushing whilst we create, experiment and tweak so in the meantime we're asking you to register your interest by clicking the image below. You'll be first in line to hear the news and automatically receive your very own profile when we're ready to go.
A massive thank you goes to my loyal participants who are always emailing to ask when the next swap will be. You've been so patient and it's been a long time coming, often with me sitting at home wondering how I can make it work with a young family and work to juggle. Team CP are on the case now!

New To Curiosity Project?
Hello and welcome to you! As you're discovering us for the first time, you might like to know that the Curiosity Project began in summer 2011 as a small scale gift swapping scheme to share amongst my friends and colleagues within the wedding industry...before I knew it participant numbers were reaching the 600+ mark with people all over the world signing up to spread some smiles. The rules back then were to take a box, decorate it if you like, then fill it with carefully considered gifts and curiosities and send it to someone you'd been matched with. You would also receive your own box from someone, somewhere-anywhere in the world. We're shaking it up a little when we launch the main site, but the ethos of the project remains the same- to stir ones curiosity, enjoy the feeling of giving and feel the excitement and anticipation of receiving. Got your attention? You can sign up here!

This news has a knock-on effect on the current blog here which will be closing shortly as the need for a new look and new start to share my styling work and lifestyle inspiration is great. The new blog (soon to be revealed) will still contain much of what you see here but without the confusion of the title. It's going to give me greater conviction to continue creating good content for you too. I'll let you all know as soon as that happens, but I'm busy working as hard as I can to make that transition smooth. Watch this space. Oh-and don't forget to register! You're going to love it...

We want you to tell your friends and talk about us online. Just use #curiosityproject when you're using Twitter or Instagram. 

Follow Curiosity Project

19 December 2013

DIY Festive Fir Tree Garland

There's a lot of blank walls staring me in the face at the moment and so I've been thinking of ways to break them up a bit and bring some of the outdoors in. I decided to try my hand with a little natural decor and whatever I had to hand in my kit and, ta da! a festive fir tree garland is what sprung to mind.

I ought to start by saying that my floristry skills are somewhat basic so please don't let this put you off-it's really basic and easy to do, I promise. Aside from collecting the fir tree clippings from my local woods (I took only what I needed I might add) and bumping them up with trimmings from the Christmas tree this garland took me about two hours to put together with a demanding toddler and baby for company. You could also use evergreen cuttings as an alternative which will smell gorgeous and it'll last around a week before it starts to droop. 

Make sure you assemble all your necessary tools before you begin, which includes 4m of hemp rope (I trimmed this once I'd measured the depth of the swag across my chimney breast) 2mm gauge copper wire, green florists tape, fishing line, star shaped cookie cutters (bear with me on that) copper coloured thread, wire cutters and pliers, clear pin board pins and plenty of greenery. 

1. Start by cutting up your clippings into smaller pieces before building up bunches and securing them with florists tape wrapped around the base of each. To attach them to your rope, wind each bunch on with more tape, then layer up the following bunch so that it overlaps slightly and hides the mechanics. Repeat until your rope is covered. Think about how you'd like your garland to flow and make sure your bunches follow this pattern-I wanted the two ends to hang with the tips of the fir tree pointing down and the tips pointing left along the swag.  

2. Once your garland is complete, it'll be ready to hang. Determine where you want to display it and where you'll place your pins. As mine was attached to wooden tongue and groove I didn't have too much trouble getting them into place, but you might need a couple of picture hooks tacked in if it's a bit tricky for you. Just don't go putting holes in your plaster work please!
Once my pins were in place and I was happy with the spacing, I tied a loop of fishing wire around garland at the point of the first drop and looped it onto the pin. I then did the same with the other side. You might find it easier if someone helps you support the weight of the garland while you do this although I managed on my own.

3. If your garland tends to hang downwards with the weight, exposing the rope at the back then you might want to secure it with a little tape strategically placed on your wall to hold it. Mind your paint work when you come to remove it though!

4. Next up it's time to make your sweet little copper stars. Using your cookie cutter as a template, gently wind the wire around the shape before cutting it a little longer at the ends and twisting the two ends together. I made around twelve of these in three different sizes.

5. Hang your stars in varying lengths using the copper coloured thread with a little tape hidden behind your garland. 

And voila! Your garland is ready to wow. You could add in some battery operated fairy lights to give it extra sparkle if you like and when the garland has seen better days, use the clippings for compost and keep the stars for the tree next year.

What do you think?

17 December 2013

2013 Gift List - Graphic Girl

I absolutely love this time of year. The tree is up and smelling amazing, the salt dough wreath I made last year is hanging with pride on our front door and the living room is glowing magically with a liberal sprinkling of fairy lights. Thoughts are turning to last minute tasks, planning the menu for next week (I cannot wait to get baking!) and snapping up a few extra gifts before the big day. I admit that I am, yet again, rather late with my gift lists-for some reason I plan them with the best of intentions and then leave them to the very last minute, so I do apologise-perhaps next year I'll remember to give myself a kick up the backside in October!

This collection of gifts have been geared towards a print and design savvy lady (or guy if you discount the earrings!) who loves bright and bold style and isn't afraid to show it off. I give you Graphic Girl!

1. I'm known for keeping wrapped up warm in the winter months, I've always got a scarf or shawl around my neck-even indoors. Absolutely LOVE this Bling Bling Brix silk scarf by Voxish Industries. It's a digitally printed masterpiece of "scratchy, worn paint textures adorned glitzy, sparkling vintage jewels." Want.

2. Kangan Arora's (doesn't she have an amazing name?!) North Indian roots really shine through in her beautifully vibrant textiles. Inspired by her every day surroundings at home in India, from rickshaws to Bollywood posters, the results vibrate with excitement. Her fluro-bright, screen printed Kites cushion makes for an ideal decorative pick-me-up.

3. This pink, black and white graphic print would look fabulous in a simple black frame as shown on a white wall as part of a gallery in the same colour way. Who doesn't need a little love from time to time? Check out designer Luzelle van der Westhuisen's African and Scandinavian inspired designs here at Mengsel.

4. Metallics are enjoying a (tasteful) design revival now and I'm relishing indulging my obsession for gold. Isn't this fragmented gold bone china mug by Petra Green just gorgeous? Launched in 2010, her lifestyle brand Room39 is founded upon the abstract, with a bold aesthetic and playful use of pattern.

5. If like me you're renting right now and worry about the commitment of using colour and print in your home, invest in something like this woven woollen throw by Eleanor Pritchard Easterly at Heals. It gives a three dimensional quality and an instant injection of colour. It'd look great on our grey sofa, if I do say so myself...

6. A print with a difference! Created by Danish illustrator Kristina Krogh for Ferm LIVING, this Butterfly print is all about texture, not only with the use of cold marble and stone but also the material it's printed on. Birch plywood.

7. As the daughter of a goldsmith, I've spent a lot of time around some outrageously elaborate jewellery (packets of precious gems on the table was a normal occurrence) so when I choose pieces for myself, these days I prefer something simple and bold. In keeping with the current arrow trend I had to include these seriously cute Go Fetch arrow earrings from vintage accessory company Eclectic Eccentricity who breathe new life into worn out and unloved pieces. Stylish, simple and to the point, don't you think?

So tell me, what's caught your eye here today and will it be going on your Christmas list?

12 December 2013

An Exclusive Pre-Launch West Elm Tour

Apologies for the mysterious disappearance-the past ten days have been a horrid fog of broken 25 year old boilers leading to no heating or hot water (thanks to our tight fisted landlord) followed by a virus which has slowly and steadily worked its way from our three year old, to three month old and finally the two of us. Fun times! Needless to say I have a whole heap of posts to share with you, just bear with me...

Before all the doom and gloom, I got the chance to take a very special private tour of the West Elm shop floor just one week before it opened. Occupying the former Pier store on Tottenham Court Road and with two facades of giant window concealing the hive of activity behind I could not WAIT to get in amongst it all with associate marketing manager Jessica.

For those new to the West Elm homeware brand, this now international name began with just one store in Brooklyn and is part of the Williams-Sonoma company. Remember that episode of Friends where Phoebe fell in love with every piece of furniture Rachel bought from Pottery Barn and was convinced they were all original collonial? Yep-that's Williams-Sonoma! Now, West Elm has stores across the U.S, Canada, Australia and finally our very own London town. And yes, I'm excited.

During my tour I was very kindly allowed to take a few shots of some of my favourite products, I think you already know I'm a huge fan of metallic gold, but just in case you didn't...

There was a real buzz in the air watching the visual merchandising team, flown in from the U.S working their magic, unpacking, sorting through and styling up box upon box of deliveries with a calm head and heaps of energy. As Jess walked me through each section of the store, from the living wall of plants on the ground floor (yes, they're all real and their hydration system is controlled from America!) to the West Elm Market -a social hub for coffee and croissants, cooking utensils and tableware, to the basement with its modern and stylish bedding, furniture and soft furnishings, I absolutely couldn't wait to see the store in all its glory. Unlike some shopping experiences where you're left feeling cold and uncomfortable, here you're encouraged to touch and try. The products have a sense of warmth, a story. There's something for everyone here, prices are accessible and the quality is excellent. 

West Elm is an environmentally conscientious brand too, taking care to responsibly source their product materials, from organic and recycled textiles and fabrics to non-toxic dyes. A large portion of their products have also been designed and created in collaboration with artisans which personally I love-it's so important to support and showcase talented creatives. These hand-painted bowls are a perfect example of this -aren't they stunning?

An example to all major retailers, West Elm is well known for its in-store workshops, many of which are featured on their blog, Front & Main. With an aim to become a community centric store, much of these workshops are free on a first come first served basis and range from crafts to entertaining to styling. Do keep an eye out in the new year for announcements. There may even be one or two from me. Hint-hint. 

The store officially opened on the 5th and you can now spend a leisurely hour (or two if you like) wandering the shop floor and discovering perfect pieces for your home. Christmas is on its way too, right? Looking for an update for the bedroom in the new year? Maybe a rug for the dining room? Show the team some love and stop by and say hello!

Best of luck in your new home West Elm, I hope London treats you well and I very much look forward to collaborating with you in 2014!