Friday, May 31, 2013

A pastel home in Istanbul

Today I'm really excited to share with you an interview with Turkish blogger Ayda Algin who writes the blog CafenoHut. We also take a peek inside Ayda's pretty Istanbul home which is light, bright and full of pastels shades. Looks out for some of Ayda's crafty DIY projects too, she is a talented lady!

So Ayda, whereabouts in Istanbul do you live? What kind of house do you live in and could you describe it for us?
I've lived in the centre of Istanbul in an area called Besiktas since 1992. This is the old part of Istanbul, our apartment is around 35 years old, which is old for Istanbul! Our space is approx 100m2 and we have a lovely balcony too. 

Do you live alone, or share your home with anyone? Do you have any pets? 
I live with my younger sister who is a lawyer.  We get along well and have similar taste in interior decor which is good. we plan to move soon to a new home with a garden, and then we want to get a dog. 

What do you do for a living? 
I work as an environmental engineer for my day job, which I've done for quite a long time.

How long have you blogged at CafenoHut for?
I started blogging in January 2011. I always wanted to have my own little café, but this has not happened as yet. (I'm still hopeful though!) So I thought if I cannot have a real café I could have a virtual one. I wanted to share the things I like; interior decoration, craft, homemade food, my memories, as if sitting in a café chatting with your friends. "nohut" is the nickname I've had for many years, it means chickpea in English - I have a petite frame like a chickpea!

How would you describe your interior style? 
My style in changing and evolving day by day. I've always been influenced by Mediterranean culture, the rich colours and natural wood textures - however, Mediterranean colours echo those of the sea, sky, lavender and yellow tones, and I now prefer to see pastel colours in my home. Also these days I am inspired by Northern European, particularly Scandinavian style, white and simplistic.  I love to give new life to old objects, so I love to mix old and new together too. 

 Where do you shop for your home?
 It is difficult to find popular brands in Turkey, so I generally shop online. Some of my favourite are Cath Kidston, Bloomingville, Greengate and Etsy. I also like Habitat, Nordist, Dank Design and Mudo (which is a Turkish brand) When I travel abroad for holiday or business, I like trying to find things to bring home. My favourite city for shopping is London. There are so many unique and special boutiques there as well as all my favourite brands together in one place. I also love making things for my home myself, it makes me really happy. 

Where do you get inspiration for your home? blogs, magazines? Which ones?
I love blogs as I love learning about different cultures. There are so many talented women out there that inspire me. These include Heather from Gatherings Magazine, Holly Becker from Decor8, Leslie Shewring from A Creative Mint, Ingrid from Wood and Wool Stool, Signe from SignePling, Ahu from Lavanta Bahcesi and of course your beautiful blog and magazine
I also follow magazines such as Flow, Mollie Makes, The Simple Things and Turkish magazines such as Alldecor and Evim
Pinterest is a wonderful source for me too. I can lose myself in the wonderful images. I learn so much from there, new blogs, new ideas, photography tips, recipes, new products.... I really do love Pinterest! 

Have you got any exciting plans coming up? 
I am planning to open an Etsy store soon which will be called 'deconoHut'. I love sewing things for the home and for kids. I'm always spending my spare time at my sewing machine and even though I don't have children you will find many baby bibs in my home! So I thought its best to sell them so I can continue sewing them. 
I also love photography, and have some of my images for sale on Getty Images. I want to improve my skills though and plan to take a photography course in the Autumn. 

Thanks for sharing your home with us Ayda! It was great to hear about your home, blog and future plans! Visit Ayda's blog and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sunbury Antiques - my finds

One of my favourite place to visit near where I live is Sunbury Antiques Market, which is on every other Tuesday at Kempton Park Racecourse. I've gone regularly over the last few years of living here, even on dreary, damp days like Tuesday this week! This was the scene at about 7:30am on Tues....

One thing that upsets me on those wet days, is the fact some of the traders leave books, textiles, electrical items, rugs, clothes etc, out in the rain! I don't get it, why would you want your stock to get soaked and ruined?! Who knows eh?! It does make it a tougher shopping experience when things are wet, you are wet and cold and traders are moody cos of the weather! But hey, I soldiered on, and managed to pick up a few lovely pieces this week, which I thought I'd share with you....

Firstly a pretty painted table, whose colour and floral pattern I couldn't resist....

Then possibly my favourite item, this beautiful book called The Lovers Pocketbook, the illustrations are really delightful, and it seems apt for me with our wedding just 4 weeks away! I'm definitely going to incorporate it into the day somehow...

I also bagged this pretty mint green and white doily, part of a deal I brokered with the trader for the book and the doily together! You always seem to be able to haggle for a better price when you buy more than one item from a stall holder...

And last but not least, some lengths of vintage lace which can be picked up really cheaply. I plan to also use these in a wedding DIY project! Also perfect for tying around your bouquet!

If you haven't been before Sunbury is definitely worth a little visit. Take a day off work, drive over (there's free parking) or hop on the train to Sunbury - but make sure to bring some big bags with you as I guarantee you won't leave empty handed!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tweet & Meet / Lisa Butler

When I became self employed I decided I didn't want to end up stuck in the house day in, day out, on my own. I wanted to do something worthwhile and fun when I had some free time so I've decided to start a new blog series called 'Tweet and Meet'. Basically this will involve meeting up with fellow creative Twitter friends (not random weirdos!) - going to visit and photograph their studio space, and then asking them to show me around their local area and their favourite shops and places to go.

The aim of the blog posts is to give a peek inside some lovely creative spaces & get inspired by the subject's creative endeavors, but also share lovely places to go in that person's area, from shops to cafes to restaurants.

So the first in the series is graphic designer Lisa Butler, who runs Paperknots - a stationery and design studio.  I went to meet Lisa last week in her home studio in Balham, South London. Here's a little peek inside her office space...

Love how Lisa has made a 'washing line' of business cards hung with mini pegs.

We spotted one of 91 Magazine's desktop calendar's on Lisa's computer!
and how cute is her cat Smartie?!

Highly organised craft supplies!

I asked Lisa to describe her home and office space, she explains; 

"I live in a 3 bed Edwardian property a few streets away from the centre of Balham, South London. We've got a large kitchen - fundamental to the modern-day party right?! A light and airy living room at the front of the house with it's big bay windows, 2 bedrooms - one for us and the other for my wardrobe! and then my office of course. My office is actually the smallest room, and although I could have done with the larger space I just loved the light in this room. The window next to my desk is almost floor to ceiling so the light streams through, which was an important factor for my work. It also means that I have become THAT neighbour who knows all the comings and goings of the street! Then there's my 'stuff' and I have a lot of stuff! I do a lot of craft work and so all the materials are important to have to hand. I also like to have design inspiration around me so have a length of twine hanging from my wall with pretty finds and nice prints."

After tea and biscuits I asked Lisa a bit more about her work as a graphic designer: 

How long have you been a graphic designer and what is your background? 
My graphic design days all began a long time ago - I won a design competition at primary school, and that was it, I was hooked! After school I took an advanced GNVQ/BTEC in Art and Design and carried on to a university degree in design too.

My first Graphic Design job happened straight after getting my degree (over 10 years ago now!) and I relocated to Manchester to begin my career as a Junior Designer.  Whilst in Manchester I progressed up to a senior level before making another move and relocating to an agency in Birmingham where I spent most of my 7 years there as a Design Manager.

I've worked on high profile brands both nationally and internationally across varied sectors within the industry from retail and leisure to public sector and healthcare. My design work included everything from branding, direct marketing and literature to advertising, packaging, point of sale and photography direction - these are the things I love most about what I do, no two days/jobs are ever the same!

When was your business Paperknots launched? 
It had always been my dream to run my own business and I finally made the decision in April 2012. I started freelancing full time for various design agencies to build up a Paperknots fund and develop my own brand and business. My own clients starting coming through thick and fast and I was soon in a position where I couldn't continue freelancing for other agencies. At this point I moved to London to buy a house with my boyfriend, which would also become Paperknots HQ. After several long weeks of hard work I officially launched Paperknots with my brand new website in November 2012.
As well as your graphic design work, you also design greetings cards - what inspires your designs?
Greetings cards is something I've only recently started working on but really want this to become an integral part of my business. A lot of what I do, be it for a branding job or wedding stationery, is directed by the client and their styles but with cards I have a blank canvas. This allows me to really put MY stamp on the design. My inspirations come from many sources. If you're a reader of my blog then you'll know I'm totally obsessed with colours; pastels, brights, neons, muted - I love them all, although I rarely use black, I know it's super stylish but I almost feel like I'm being conned out of a colour! Other inspiration comes from pattern, interiors, textures and I love playing around with typography too.
We love the pastel shades of Lisa's greetings card designs.
What plans have you got for Paperknots over the coming year?
In a word - lots! My business is essentially split into three key areas which are categorised under the Paperknots strap-line of LOVE • LIFE • DESIGN. Under LOVE you have everything wedding related - here I am aiming to design lots more 'off the peg' ranges. A lot of my wedding stationery is bespoke and so designs are really quite personal to that couple, I'm aiming to complete 10 'off the peg' designs to allow couples with perhaps less time or budget to still find stationery that suits them and their day.

Next you have LIFE which is design for everyday life - so this covers things like greetings cards, social stationery and prints etc. This is something I really want to push for Paperknots. I'm in the process of launching new greetings cards in the coming weeks and one of my top goals is to secure some stockists for the designs by the end of the year.

And finally DESIGN. This includes graphic design work for branding, marketing, packaging and everything in between. I've got a fantastic client list of companies from PR agencies, magazines and event planners to venues, retailers and blogs. The work is always varied and fun and I'm lucky enough to have great working relationships with them all.  I'm always looking to add new clients to my portfolio and I'm excited about what could be next!

We then popped out to visit some of Lisa's favourite shops in Balham. I asked Lisa;

How long have you lived in Balham and what do you love about it?
I'm still new to Balham (well to London, in fact) as I only moved here in September 2012. My boyfriend already lived in London but his flat in Chiswick was too small for the two of us so we had to do some house-hunting. We wanted somewhere that felt like it had a community vibe and Balham won it for us. I love my road, it's so quiet and peaceful (and pretty!) but a 10 min stroll and I'm in the heart of Balham and a short tube ride away from the bright lights of the big city. Balham is great for young professionals and families, lots of interesting places to eat out and a great variety of pubs and bars. I'm a big fan of shopping locally and there are lots of sweet little independent shops and there are always little craft fairs popping up and social events at the local cafes and bars. We're surrounded by lots green space too which I can hopefully enjoy in my first upcoming summer in London. 

Lisa then showed me around her favourite Balham haunts....  first stop was Jayne Copperwaite's flower shop on Cavendish Road... Lisa told me: "I love flowers (who doesn't!) and would have them in my house everyday if my bank balance would allow it. Jayne's gorgeous displays are like a sea of colour and always cheer me up whenever I walk past them."

As a stationery designer Lisa loves nothing more that browsing her local gift card shop Postmark... she described it as "A cute little card store with a minty painted front and cleverly designed logo, it brings out the true paper geek in me as soon as I step foot inside! They have so many beautiful collections from the likes of Hello Lucky and Caroline Gardner to name a few and to top it all off, they even have their own in-house postal service!

Next was Whippet, which in Lisa's words is; "An adorable contemporary-designed shop selling everything from unique homewares, gifts and cards to a collection of vintage pieces. If I'm looking for a gift it's one of the first places I'll pop into as it has got all bases covered, from high street design brands to items from up-and-coming local artists and designers."

Last but not least on our tour of Balham was the lovely Lavish Habit and I love Lisa's description of this quirky venue: "This place is a café come boutique with the vibe of Aladdin's Cave! I often pop in for coffee with my boyfriend but usually end up gazing around at the enchanting decor, pretty gifts and homewares."

Downstairs lies an eclectic selection of up-cycled retro furniture and props - a treasure chest of gorgeous 'collectables' that are definitely worth a look, even if just to 'oooh and ahhhh' over. 

As for the actual café (you see, I got distracted by the goodies again!), the drinks are yum, as is the food - I highly recommend the hot chocolate and the Chorizo flat bread!"

I had a lovely day hanging out with Lisa in her studio and her favourite Balham spots, my final question was to find out if she had any secret tips for anyone visiting Balham.... she said: "hmmm... I'm still in the phase of hoping people might want to share some with me! Probably not so secret, but we were rather happy when we found a pub/restaurant nestled just off Balham High Road called The Grove. This place has such a cosy feel with it's open fires, plush soft furnishings and snug areas as well as an awesome burger which includes dollops of peanut butter!" 
Sounds delish! Thanks for giving Patchwork Harmony an insight in to your lovely life Lisa! Check out Lisa's work at Paperknots.

Don't forget you can tweet with us and Lisa too!

All Photos: Patchwork Harmony
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