Christmas Gift Guide: Beautiful and unique gifts from 3 Designer Makers you need to check out

I am a firm believer in buying gifts that are truly unique and the best way to get something for your loved one is a present that no one else is going to have. With all the adverts on tv, we can get enticed in to buying from large supermarket stores and retailers, but what about those with independent businesses?

It’s so important to support local and small businesses, because purchasing from them really does help, makes a difference and you just know that they have spent a huge amount of time and effort making their products to sell. You know it’s going to be high quality, handmade/designed and one of a kind! Not only will it make the designers happy, but it will also be a more thoughtful gift than buying something everyone else will have!

Below are some really cool online independent designers, makers and entrepreneurs that I think you should check out either for yourself or your loved ones this Christmas!

 

LP Style House

(Image credit: LP Style House)

LP Style House is an interior accessories brand that specialises in hand drawn and painted patterns that are digitally printed on to fabrics and made by hand in to cushions, wall hangings and key rings. Lee Puddicombe is the design genius behind LP Style House, who has a background in art and design. The patterns he designs are bold, fun, colourful, vibrant and just absolutely stunning! Which is a complete reflection on who he is and his personality. If you’re looking for something to brighten up your home for next year or to put a smile on your loved ones face, then LP Style House is a one stop must shop destination for all your interior needs! The inks used are water based and digital printing is less wasteful than hand printing, so Lee’s products are environmentally friendly as well!

 

Holly the Illustrator

(Image 1 & 4: Holly the Illustrator. Image 2 & 3: My own)

Holly the Illustrator is the design love child of Holly Walsh, who as you can guess is an illustrator. Holly’s work can be seen in a number of magazines where she’s done design work for front covers and full page spreads! There’s something really special and whimsical about Holly’s style of drawing that people are drawn to, and I’m sure that you will be the same! Over on her Etsy, she has tons of products to browse and fall in love with, for example: postcards with her illustrations on them in delicious pastel colours, an adorable naughty kitty christmas card and a 2019 calendar! Perfect as gifts this festive season. She also has some badges and little sleeping crescent moon accessories for sale. I have some myself and I can honestly say it is incredible, amazing quality and I love them!

 

Molley Designs

(Images: Molley Designs)

Molley Designs also specialises in interior accessories! However their designs and items are beautiful in a truly unique and different way. Designer maker Emma Molley is someone that loves to utilise her creativity through her hands and is fascinated with the materials she can use to create truly gorgeous pieces that anyone would be proud of displaying in their home! From planters and candle holders made from concrete to intricately laser cut wooden coasters, there is something for everyone over on Emma’s Etsy page! Her products are eco-friendly as well because the materials are sustainable!

 

Honestly, I think these guys designs and products are fantastic and will really make a statement this season!

 

What do you think? Should we be shopping more with local businesses? Do you buy from designer makers yourself? Who are your favourite designers to buy from?

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Dx

 

 

 

Sustainable Saturday: Christmas presents

Let’s talk Christmas presents. I know this is a bit late in the game/month, but hopefully this will help if you want to be a bit more environmentally conscious this holiday. Every year we spend lots of money on gifts around this time for our family, friends and loved ones. Often these gifts are stored away, possibly forgotten or waiting to be used, or they are used straight away, once, a few times and then thrown out at the dump and end up in landfill, unable to biodegrade. This is not great news for our planet, that is already struggling with it’s high temperature rising seas, plastic contamination and greenhouse gases.

Why not try going green for christmas? You can decorate your home sustainably and make your own christmas decorations, find out more here. You can make more conscious decisions by shopping locally and organic at farmers markets, supermarkets, bakeries and butchers. And for the presents, below are a few gift ideas for your loved ones:

Bathtime

A gift that is always given every year is lotions, potions and smellies. Why not give your loved ones some packaging free bath time presents that are also made form natural ingredients?

Lush has a whole range of package free or “naked” cosmetic products, from shower gels, soaps, scrubs, moisturisers, shampoo and conditioner to face masks, bath bombs and oils.

Naked Shower Gels:

 

Naked moisturisers:

 

Soaps:

 

Bath bombs and oils:

 

For the children, mouldable, colourful soap:

 

(All Images: LUSH)

There are so many more products on their website and in store. Some of their products do come in containers, but that is ok. Why? Because they recycle them and reuse them once you’re done with the product. They have a 5 pot scheme for face masks where every 5 pots you return empty, you get a free fast mask of your choice, and those pots you’ve returned are reused for more masks or other lotions. What’s even better is that all of their ingredients are 100% natural and organic, and sourced from fair trade suppliers, they are cruelty free which means no animals were tested on at any time during the making of these products or after, the products are vegetarian and vegan friendly (though not all of their products are vegan) and majority of them are self-preserving, so they won’t get old and mouldy. Other great brands to shop with that are cruelty free are The Body Shop, Superdrug and M&S’ own brands, which are all leaping bunny registered/certified. All these brands also sell their own make up which are also cruelty free and some are organic/made from natural ingredients.

Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 20.43.40(Image: My Own)

What about the tools used for personal hygiene? Why not buy them a set of bamboo toothbrushes for Christmas. Toothbrushes are made of plastic and therefore non-recyclable and just end up in the waste line and pollute our oceans, harming saline that mistake it for food.

 

(Images: Anything But Plastic & Zero Habits)

You can find bamboo toothbrushes practically anywhere! I got mine from Amazon, but there are also websites that are dedicated to promoting a waste free lifestyle such as Anything But Plastic and Zero Habits that sell their own bamboo toothbrushes, amongst other things such as sponges, dental floss, deodorant and organic soaps which all come with no plastic!

Clothing and Accessories

What about clothes? This can be tricky because you may think faux leather is sustainable, but it isn’t. However if you or your recipient are against using real leather because you’re vegetarian, vegan or just don’t like the fact it comes from animals, then here are a couple of things that you can get for your loved ones:

 

(Images: Amazon)

Cork is a sustainable material. It is believed to be endangered, as it has been cultivated too soon before it is even ready to be harvested. However there are protected forests where farmers are using sustainable practices, ensuring that they are only harvesting the tree’s bark at the right time, and planting more in the process. These cork handbags and wallets are the perfect leather alternative, as the material is durable and naturally anti-bacterial. You can find these items online on Amazon, however Corkor have their own website with an amazing range and Frog Plop do make up bags, wallets and purses as well at a lower price.

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 21.22.17(Image: Boots)

I think we can all agree that every year at christmas, this is a present that everyone seems to get, and that gift is socks. Boots are now selling socks and tights made out of bamboo! I know that sounds odd or like it might be rough to the touch, but believe me, I own a few pairs myself and they are the softest socks I have ever worn.

 

(Images: H&M Conscious Collection)

There are tons of eco-friendly, sustainable, organic clothing brands out there. H&M have their own clothing line made of recycled materials called Conscious and they encourage customers to recycle any of their own clothing to them so they can be repurposed in to something new.  People TreeMUD Jeans, Armedangles and Here Today Here Tomorrow are other great sustainable clothing brands that use natural and fair trade materials.

 

(Images: Pela Case)

How about an environmentally friendly phone case for Christmas from pela case? Pela case create phone cases from plant-based and recycled materials, and is combined with a starch based biopolymer, meaning that this phone case is strong, shock absorbent and, here’s the fantastic part, it’s 100% compostable, which means if it does break, it’s ok, you can add it to your compost pile or bin and it will biodegrade and become food for you plants and the earth. How brilliant and innovative is that!? GENIUS! I’ve got to get myself one. These phone cases come in all colours of the rainbow. The down side? They only stock iPhone cases at the moment, BUT you can preorder an android case for when they are released.

 

Toys

Now, what about the presents that are usually bought for children over Christmas? The toy industry is probably one the busiest this time of year and many toys now days that are found in shops or advertised on tv are made of plastic and are easily breakable. Why not try buying something that will last after your little one is done with it?

 

(Images: Eco-Tots, Natural Baby Shower, Mee Mee London, Conscious Craft, Eco-Tots)

Eco Tots, Natural Baby Shower and Mee Mee London all have great toys and clothing that are organic, made from natural or recycled materials and are eco-friendly. Conscious Craft has a range of natural and environmentally friendly art materials, crafts and activities that children can get creative with.

You could also make your children or friend’s children toys yourself. You could make a rag doll or teddy or dinosaur out of scrap fabrics! Cut out and sand down your own shapes from scrap pieces of wood!

For the Home and Lifestyle

Perhaps you want to buy something for a friend or family member that has just moved house, or know that there is something they need in their home that they haven’t quite gotten around to buying themselves?

 

(Images: Amara & H&M)

Maybe some dinnerware such as plates, bowls and cups? Bamboo is such a versatile wood that it can be made in to almost anything such as bowls and cups, as well as place mats or table runners. These bamboo kids dinner set from Ekobo are perfect for any friends or family with little ones. This recycled glass cake dome by Nkuku would make a lovely edition, especially with any christmas cakes or mince pies on display inside. H&M also have a whole range of recycled, organic and fair trade items for the home in their Conscious collection, which are also very stylish, like the tropical leaf-print duvet cover set. I’m seriously contemplating buying myself that duvet! Habitat have a range of bamboo or objects and furniture made from recycled material on their site that would make perfect additions to anyone’s home!

 

(Images: Mind The Cork)

How about these cork placemats, cork leather cushions, plant pots and japanese stab bound books from Mind The Cork? I think this may be my new favourite sustainable homeware shop! The cushion is gorgeous!

 

(Images: Zero Habits)

Zero Habits has a few things on their site for the home and for on the go, such as stainless steel lunch boxes, infuser and reusable metal bottles, bamboo sporks, steel containers and cotton produce bags to use when your are doing your weekly food shop.

 

(Images: Also Home)

Also Home is a shop that sells hand crafted and sustainably sourced homeware and lifestyle products, such as 100% cotton and linen cushions, bedding and tableware, mango wood and bamboo plates, bowls, hand cartable dinnerware, canvas tote bags for shopping and more!

You could also make your loved ones something for their home. Maybe a cushion from scrap fabric, a bag or pencil case? You could make them a sign or paint them a picture and frame it? Make a woven wallhanging or macrame hanging plant holder. I love handmade gifts! They are the most thoughtful because of the time and effort put in to them and they will hold more sentimental value.

 

I hope this post has helped you think of new ideas for gifts this Christmas! What product has stood out to you in this post? Would you like any of these products as Christmas presents? Let me know in the comments!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Danica x

 

Final Major Project: Rainbow Nation

Hello everyone!

Today I thought I’d share with you what I did for my Final Major Project and last ever project at University. I had 3 options of different types of projects I could do: spatial design, surface design and styling. One of the main things that attracted me to my course was that we could create our own patterns to be used for surface design, so I decided I would do that for my Final Project..

Students doing surface design were required to create a collection of 20 patterns inspired by trends, colours, themes, etc. of their own choice.

African ethnic was very on trend for this year and as I was born and raised for half my life in South Africa, so I thought why not go with that? I went to exhibitions on african culture and art, read books of African art history and textiles design and what plants grew in Africa as opposed to everywhere else. I wanted to create something that was African, but also that people wouldn’t realise was ethnic or african at first, because it wasn’t something that would scream out to them that way. I wanted my collection to be different, and so I based it on my heritage, as well as the country itself. Although I looked at South Africa as my main source of inspiration for my collection, I did look at other parts of Africa to bring in other cultures and create a contrast in my designs.

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Esther Mahlangu’s Ndebele painted BMW at the South Africa art of a nation exhibition at the British Museum, February 2017
(Image: My Own)

South Africa has such a diverse history, culture and landscape. The plants that grow there are so exotic and tropical, and although the buildings and architecture would not be thought of as ethnic, I wanted my collection to be contemporary and to showcase things that may not portray ethnicity, but in fact are in their own way. I looked at art, fabric, tribes and patterns, as well as flowers, trees and animals and this is what I came up with:

 

 

weave and mud hut visual board

I looked at mud huts and villages, and the patterns painted along the sides of mud huts, the colours used, as well as weaving for the above designs.

 

 

protea visual board

I wanted to highlight the different exotic plants that grew in Africa as well and celebrate the national flower of South Africa, the protea. When you look at the floral pattern, you first notice it’s a floral design until you look closely and see that it is ethnic and african, because of the african geometric inspired backgrounds. These designs give a feminine feel to my collection and add a nice contrast and change to the usually heavy, dark, masculine vibe that tends to be associated with African designs.

 

 

pots visual board

Even though I wanted my designs to be contemporary, I couldn’t stay away from the traditional ethnic look for too long. I created a pottery design inspired by mud huts and african pottery, and made it look more commercial by adding in the native flowers. I created a stripe pattern inspired by African shields, a triangular pattern inspired by african geometrics and zebra stripes, an elephant design inspired by Ndebele and African indigo cloth, and an Ndebele design inspired by the patterns painted on the huts of the Ndebele tribes.

 

 

bokaap visual board

I then wanted to go even further with the idea of what is considered and what wouldn’t be thought of as ethnic, and created a wallpaper design inspired by the township in my home town/city: Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap. Bo-Kaap is a Cape Malaysian township that has influences from Cape Dutch architecture but is colourful and bright and diverse, much like the country’s people and history. I just loved how bright the actual buildings were and how it’s one of the City’s prized places for tourists to visit, that I wanted to celebrate it. I added geometric and dot designs to some of the buildings and brought in acacia and baobab trees to make the pattern look more African. I also created a third geometric design inspired by african patterns and Ndebele that linked a bit more to the colours used in Ndebele but to add a feminine geometric pattern to the collection.

 

I am very happy with what I created for my final project and loved every minute of designing it and seeing it materialise in to real fabrics and wallpaper.

 

 

I was very lucky and fortunate to be chosen to display my collection at New Designers earlier this year! It was such an amazing experience, I made some wonderful contacts with other creative graduates exhibiting there and since graduating have begun freelancing as a textile designer for Colwill & Waud.

I plan on making a few homeware goods with some of these designs to sell! What do you think? Let me know your thoughts the comments below!

Thank you for reading!

Danica x

My week with Blendworth, August 2016

Hello everyone!

Do you remember the live project I did for Blendworth during my second year at Blendworth? Well, if you don’t, you can read all about it here.

If you do, I guess you can tell by the title of this blog that I (along with 3 other talented students in my class) was chosen out of our class to do a weeks long work placement with them in the designs studio! Blendworth are a renowned British surface design and textile company that was established in 1921! Their fabrics and wallpapers are fantastic, and they have a wide range of different patterns and textures for you to choose from! Check out their website and collections here: http://www.blendworth.co.uk/

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I made a top 10 list of their best sold fabrics and patterns from one of their collections. I also got to have a sneak peek at their new collection coming out next year! I won’t tell you what it is or the theme but I will update this post when their new collection comes out. I had to cut different colour way strips of their new designs, label them and place them in to a folder. I can’t wait to get my own samples of them when they come out!

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I was asked to create some trend and colour boards for them to use as inspiration for future projects and they also let me print off some for myself to use for my projects in third year. I got to use the Heimtextil 2017/2018 Trends book to help me with researching. It’s given me loads of ideas for my Final Major Project!

creepy crawliesevergreenColour Blockdusty pink and grey
(Image credit: Pinterest)

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These are a few trend boards I created and a display board I added to for them. This board, along with the new trends for next year have inspired me for my Final Major Project! I can’t wait to get started!

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I did a bit of archiving for them. I had to photograph a load of different fabrics, the repeats and details and the selvedge codes, write them down, give them a code number and then place them on the correct shelves in numerical order and add labels to the shelves. This was a lot of fun as I got to see some fabrics that have been around since Blendworth was established, so some of these fabrics were nearly 100 years old! How incredible is that? I found them so inspiring and interesting to see what was in style back then, and top see how far we’ve come today in textile and surface design. You must remember, back then they didn’t have computers and Photoshop to create their patterns and repeat, it was all done by hand and painted in to a repeat. Just astounding!

I did archiving for a few days and afterwards I had to upload the photographs on to a computer, label them with the right number code, place them in the right categorised folder and also type up all the codes, colours, names and details about the different fabrics.

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I sat outside on my lunch break a lot with some of the girls and they were all so lovely! It was perfect weather all week. We had ice lollies and cookies on my last day.

I’ve really enjoyed my week there, I wish it didn’t have to end! Thank you so much to Southampton Solent University and Blendworth for this incredible opportunity! I’ve learn’t so much from working with you and it was a great experience to see how the surface design side of the industry works. I think it’s definitely helped me decide what I’d like to do in the future, both project and career wise!

Thank you for reading!

Danica x

Spirit of Summer 2016

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I was very fortunate enough to help out and gain some work experience at the Spirit of Summer fair at the Olympia London. I got to help out at an amazing artist and designers stall.

Her name is Anna Jacobs, a trained artist and her homeware products are stunning. I was very lucky to be able to work with someone so talented! It’s no surprise that I would fall in love with her pieces, being a colour lover. You can find more of her products on her online shop here.

I got to have a wander round on my lunch break to see what else was on display and it was very inspiring! I loved the wide range of homeware and furniture products as well as clothing that was available to buy.

Straight away Holy Cow Home LTD’s stall across the way caught my eye, with it’s eclectic, bohemian style and bright colours. I really wanted one of those umbrellas and the patchwork armchair!

This stall was absolutely gorgeous, covered all over with beautiful flowers. Just look at that swan!

This stall displayed some wonderful glass pieces, which were all made from recycled glass!

I never knew this design fair existed until I was asked to work it. It was so inspirational, exciting and fun, and I hope to do it again one day, whether it’s helping out again or with my own stall.

If you’ve never been to the Spirit of Summer fair, make sure you attend next year as I’m sure there will be plenty more to do and see!

Thank you for reading!

Danica x