My Blog List

Friday, 21 June 2013

Haberdashery Heaven

Last night I found myself in haberdashery heaven.

Writer and milliner Mary Jane Baxter (left) was signing copies of her new book, The Modern Girl’s Guide to Hatmaking, at Barnett Lawson, a trimmings shop just a couple of minutes from Oxford Circus.  
The basement premises are one of London’s best-kept secrets. Guests who came to the event - and tried on some of her creations, such as (below) an 'emergency' hat which uses cereal packet cardboard as a base -  discovered an Aladdin’s cave of treasures.  

Aisles are crammed with exquisite buttons, ribbons, frogging, fringing, lace, motifs, artificial flowers, decorative butterflies, sequin and diamant√© trims, feathers, veiling – even feathered masks. Barnett Lawson was founded more than 50 years ago, and its present owner Caroline Marx has more than 12,000 different items in stock.  She and her helpful staff supply many leading fashion designers, theatre costumiers, milliners and stylists – as well as creative individuals like Mary Jane.

So for inspiration to update your wardrobe or start a new craft project, visit Barnett Lawson at 16 / 17 Little Portland Street, London W1W 8NE. (ph 020 7636 8591) or check out their website
Prepare to be enchanted.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Open Gardens Day inspiration

In NW London, we’ve just had our neigbhourhood’s Open Gardens Day - 14 stunning back gardens, all close to each other, but usually hidden from view. As usual, the afternoon brought hundreds of Mapesbury residents and their friends out onto the streets, holding maps with garden details and exchanging recommendations with fellow enthusiasts. They found a huge range of planting – everything from formal to cottage (above), woodland and meadow - and came away with plenty of inspiration and a better idea of what thrives - or doesn’t -  in our local area. 

I didn't have time to see all the gardens, but of those I did, my highlights included these euphorbias - almost like sculptures, their lime green singing against pink and orange flowers.

I also loved the way this spectacular climbing rose gives an extra dimension to an old fruit tree.

 I've never before seen such amazing wisteria - trained into a fan, so you can actually walk underneath.

And keeping slugs and snails at bay, a little raised planter which brings fresh herbs and salad leaves to the kitchen door. A great idea!