27 May 2010


I had a few spare hours in London yesterday so I decided to visit the Bead Shop in Covent Garden. That place is like a sweet shop for adults! But what shocked me were the prices -- 20p for a plastic bead!? I'm used to buying a whole STRING of beads from a Charity Shop for that. But I didn't leave empty handed as I bought some clasps, wire and crimp beads to mend a few necklaces.

When I got home I decided to play around with some of the beads that I've collected over the years, but what struck me is that they felt too small! It's all about big beads these days, isn't it? The small ones I have didn't seem to have any impact when strung together so I was left feeling quite dissatisfied and frustrated. It's interesting how our tastes change.

The red and white necklaces were old ones that needed restringing. I made the multicolour bracelet myself. It was meant to be a necklace but it seemed too long and thing, so I think it's better worn on the wrist. I'm desperate for some big shiny yellow and aqua beads -- must keep my eye out in the Charity Shops. Honey certainly enjoyed herself; she was sitting on my bead tray within a couple of minutes!

Hair stylist

25 May 2010


Honey has been giving lots of cuddles lately and I often wake up to find her sound asleep along side us in bed. After my husband has showered, she loves nothing more than styling his hair! It's turned into a morning routine: she waits for him outside the bathroom until he's finished, then jumps onto the bed meowing. She puts her front paws on his shoulders and gives his hair a good rub with her nose. Maybe his lemongrass shampoo has a similar appeal to catnip!

*Photo: Cubic Dreams

All sorts

24 May 2010

made by anna, painted saucer
the design files
design sponge
the design files

Over the last few days I've been reeling from the shock of learning that Ronan Keating has had a seven month affair with a dancer. I'm not usually one to care about celebrity gossip, but Ronan played a huge part in my childhood and still is a big part of my life (I saw him in concert only 3 months ago) and I feel devastated that he's not the man he made himself out to be. Over the last decade he's cultivated an image as a loving family man, and even brought his children onto the stage at a recent concert. I can't believe he's been lying all this time - not only to his fans, but more importantly his wife. It makes me sad. I don't doubt that he's still in pain after losing his friend and fellow bandmate last year, but surely losing someone so close to you would make you appreciate your family even more? I just don't understand, and I feel sad. Sad for him - as his career is in tatters - and sad for his wife and family. This stupid mistake will affect the rest of his life. I really hope he can try to sort himself out... Anyway, I have many more things closer to home to worry about. I just needed to get that all off my chest.

These are a handful of images that have caught my eye over the last couple of weeks. They make me *happy*.

*Images via Grossomodo, Made by Anna - Etsy, Design Sponge, Design Sponge, The Design Files.

Parade Project

parade project chelsea college may 2010

This past week I've been involved in a project out on the Parade Ground at my college. The aim was to construct a series of shelters/seating areas out of 4,320 milk crates. We had plans to work from, but we found that we had to change things as we got further into the project. The original aim was to build 15 crates high but this proved to be unstable. The crates were attached to each other with plastic cable ties, and we found that if we retightened each tie it gave the structure much more stability. My hands were cut and legs bruised. It was really tough work, but felt really good to be physically building something.

On Saturday there were a series of workshops/discussion groups and on Sunday there was a Market of Ideas with lots of different kinds of stalls. Those of us from the MA Interior Design ran a cake stall to raise money for the end of year show - we made £183! It was a shame that there weren't any art/craft stalls (it is an art college after all), but that didn't seem to be the aim... It was fun to see the structure in use, and to look at how people inhabited the space. For me, the highlight was to see a pigeon nestled in one of the top crates :)

My little haven

19 May 2010

cubic dreams - my bedroom and office

It's been such a busy week. I submitted my porfolio for an interim review on Friday (and had to travel to London twice in one day: once to hand it in, and then to collect it after it had been marked!). Then on Saturday I took a trip to Ikea and picked out some new pieces of furniture. The delivery was meant to be on Sunday but they called us an hour after we left the shop to ask if they could deliver the same day! I'm used to having to wait for things, but everything happened so quickly! Then my kind husband assembled everything Saturday night, and had to dash out for a wood saw first thing Sunday morning so he could cut down the desk top to fit nice and snug under the window. Then yesterday I helped out with a crazy project at uni: we're building a temporary structure out of 4000 milk crates! Eeek. My hands are so sratched and legs are bruised, but it was fun! And then last night I lost a contact lens in my eye! It's still in there I think. It's happened once before and I found it rolled into a tube under my eyelid (sorry for all the details), but so far it hasn't surfaced so I'm off to the opticians in the morning *sigh*.

cubic dreams - my bedroom and office

Anyway, focusing on my new work area in the bedroom... I chose one long surface as it makes the most of the strange uneven shape of the room. I want to claim back the corner of the room but sadly it makes up the neighbour's bedoom. We originally had a dressing table and small chest of drawers in front of the window, but it looks a lot more streamlined and spacious now. The chair is also from Ikea - it's made of string that's wrapped around a metal frame. It's so pretty and incredibly comfortable. As soon as I took it out of the box my husband and I looked at each other and suddenly realised that it's in fact a giant scratching post for our cat, Honey. And sure enough, that night, she Christened the chair by running her claws along the seat. But don't worry - as soon as I shout, "OUT!" she knows she's been a naughty girl, and luckily she hasn't tried it again. The desk is a dream to work on: so much space to spread over and all my things are at hand in the drawers! It really is a luxury for me.

cubic dreams - my bedroom and office

The lightbulb of drawing pins was my grandad's: he always had it on his desk.

cubic dreams - my bedroom & office

This is the view upon entering the room. The painting is by my father, and my granny grew the money tree for me.

cubic dreams - my bedroom and office

*All photos Cubic Dreams.

Ready for summer

17 May 2010


A delicious combination of colours...

*Image by Essimar.

A nest of my own

12 May 2010

work space inspiration

This week I've been quite obsessed with the idea of creating a work space in our bedroom. (I blame this beautiful office I saw last week). I'm planning to replace the dressing table with a long white work surface. I've tested out this space by working on the laptop on the dressing table, and I can't believe the difference it's made to my productivity! There is so much light and a view to look out on. (The dressing table is too shallow to use in the long term...) If it's going to work as a proper work space I'm going to have to learn how to put things away and keep it clutter free. There's nothing worse than a messy bedroom!

I've been looking at lots of images of offices/studios, and especially ones that are in bedrooms. Ours won't have a PC out on the desk (as I now have a laptop - yay!) but it will be an area for model making, drawing, studying: a little nest of my own.

work space inspiration

So whilst shuffling the bed across the room late on Sunday night, I decided it's time to add some more colour into the room. I'm thinking about a yellow bedspread like in the picture above, and maybe wall mounted bedside lights. I mentioned the lights to my husband and he looked quite worried. I told him it's really easy to do, right? I'm happy for the wires to show :) I now need to convince him to come to Ikea with me at the weekend... Even if we pay for delivery, we've still got to lift those boxes!

P.S. This is my first post under the new Government: a coalition between the Lib Dem's (YAY!!!) and the Tories (not so yay, but Vince Cable will keep them in line!). After being at each other's throats in the live debates, I just hope they can work together!

*Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.


10 May 2010

hildagrahnat's apartment

I'm in love with this girl's apartment. The black window frames perfectly balance out the whiteness.

Yesterday I had a bit of a whinge about our flat. We've been trying to sell it for a number of months, but to be honest, property just isn't selling at the moment so we're going to be here a while. It's a very unsettling experience; I've already emotionally detached myself from our home and the space just isn't working for us. I dream of changing everything around a creating a new office area in our second bedroom, but it just doesn't make sense to do it at the moment. So my kind and understanding husband spent Sunday evening moving the furniture around in our bedroom and we've made room for a desk under the window. It's the sunniest spot in the flat and looks onto trees. We're going to get a simple white tabletop from Ikea and two drawer units and slot it into the gap. I'm so excited about having a nest of my own to do my work - it will make such a difference. Now we just need to work out how we're going to pick up the furniture from Ikea... :)

*Images: Hildagrahnat's Flickr stream

Ferm Living

7 May 2010

ferm living
ferm living

Beautiful accessories for the home with a spot of humour.

I'm typing this (on my new laptop! - it's faster than the PC!) whilst watching the live news on the election, and it's just this minute been declared a hung parliament. No party can win the overall majority of votes. I wonder if they will call another election. I'd never even heard of the term 'hung parliament' before; I didn't realise things could get so complicated. It's quite a worry. I can't help but wonder how stressed the leader of each party must be feeling. Waiting to see if you're the Prime Minister must the job interview from hell.

*Image credits: Ferm Living. Found via A Merry Mishap.

Henry Moore at Tate Britain

4 May 2010

henry moore
Exhibition at Tate Britain

My mum and I went to see the Henry Moore exhibition at Tate Britain last weekend. When I was a child, I used to enjoy leafing through her Henry Moore books and old exhibition catalogues from the '70s, so it was quite nice to visit this together.

henry moore
Mother and Child sketches and sculpture

The first part of the exhibition focused on the Mother and Child theme that Moore continued to explore throughout his life. Over the years, the form of the figures became more abstract. I was desperate to run my hand around some of curves in the stone, but sadly this wasn't permitted which was a shame. (My mum was worried I'd set off an alarm as she thought I was getting too close!)

henry moore
Carved stone sculpture

A lot of his early work is carved in stone, and this is what Moore said of his use of Horton stone: " the early part of my career I made a point of using native mateials because I thought that, being English, I should understand our stones. They were cheaper, and I could go round to a stonemason and buy random pieces. I tried to use English stones that hadn't been used before in sculpture." (source: exhibition booklet)

henry moore
Ideas for war drawings

We decided to listen to the audio guide to get a full understanding of the exhibition, but we were quite disappointed by it. We spent a lot of time walking round in circles looking for the numbered artworks and the guide mainly focused on the politcal context of the art, rather than on the actual pieces. Context is vital when appreciating art, but I would have liked to find out more about his way of working.

Nevertheless, I was fascinated to learn that Moore was one of the country's official war artists. His job was to draw the people sheltering in the underground platforms, but he felt it was disrespectful to sketch them in situ. Instead he took notes and based his drawings on newspaper photographs.

henry moore
War drawings

He got the effect in the image above on the right by using wax crayon to define the people and washing a layer of dark paint over the top. The way the wax repels the paint emphasises their ragged clothes and worn skin. It was really moving to see these pictures.

henry moore
Carved elm wood sculpture

The last room focused on sculptures that Moore carved from elm wood. The image above doesn't give any sense of scale, but they were enormous -- several metres in length and a couple of metres across. Incredibly, they are carved from a single piece of wood. Due to the size of the tree truncks, Elm has a very large grain and is therefore suited to making large pieces of sculpture. As Moore said, you can't make a small sculpture from Elm as the grain would end up in the wrong place. Although he couldn't control where the grain markings went, the lines wrap around the curves of the sculpture in such a soft, human way. These sculptures were my favourite out of the whole exhibition. There was a real softness to them. I leant that Moore was able to carve more openings in the elm than in the stone, since is was a lot softer, and the voids became equally important as the solid parts.

(* Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Since photography wasn't allowed, I found images of similar artworks online. Not all of these pieces were exhibited at the Tate).

Dream work space


I've just spied the most amazing office space on Design Sponge! Look at those long surfaces and all that space in the middle to breathe. Oh and the doors that open onto the garden!! Oh my... If I ever fulfill my ambition of working for myself, this is the kind of space I could only dream of...

*Home of Jen Bilik, via Design Sponge.

A dress from a top + skirt

3 May 2010

dress from a skirt and top

My mum gave me a jersey skirt yesterday as she didn't feel comfortable in the colour for herself. It was too big for me to wear as a skirt so I'd originally planned to reduce the waist and wear it as a skirt, but the fabric is quite thin and it just didn't hang very well on me. I found that it was a lot more flattering higher up on the waist, and decided to attach it to a jersey top and turn it into a dress. It now flows and twirls really nicely :)

dress from a skirt and top

It was very easy to do, and doesn't really warrant instructions, but I thought I'd share the type of stitches and basic steps that I used. There's probably a much better way of doing this with a sewing machine, but I don't have one, so this is how I did it by hand:

dress from a skirt and top

1. The skirt's waistband was orginally constructed from a length of elastic within a fabric tube. I unpicked the stitches that fixed the elastic in place. Then I made an incision along the inside of the waist band and pulled the elastic out slightly, and reduced the length of the elastic by a couple of inches to make the waistband smaller. This created some subtle gathering around the waist.

2. I then put on the t-shirt and pinned the skirt around me at a comfortable height. I took it off and used a tape measure to check that it was the same distance all around.

3. I stitched the very top edge of the waistband to the t-shirt by hand using a small overstitch. To do this, I pinched the two layers together (see above) and sewed in this position, and when the fabric is flattened out the stitches are along the inside of the seam and hardly show. The stitches allow for an amount of stretch needed for taking the dress on and off. (If I had a sewing machine I would have liked to use a zig zag stitch but these stiches would have been more visible than the overstitches.)

4. I turned the whole thing inside out, and sewed the t-shirt to the internal waistband seam using a loose running stitch (see above) so it stays flat and doesn't roll up when it's washed. Then I cut off the excess t-shirt fabric.

Flickr Faves


1 The Blue
2 Living room
3 Bicycle dress
4 Memories

*Sources are linked

Happy plates

1 May 2010

habitat roxie dinnerware

These make me smile.

*Source: Habitat.