Thursday, 27 October 2011

Twinkle, sparkle & glimmer

I don't care what anyone says, the world would be a miserable old place without glitter. There is absolutely nothing tacky or naff about a hint, a splash or even a huge great wallop of shine and shimmer, just be careful how you go about doing it. After writing my latest article for Exeter Express & Echo all about making your home sparkle this bonfire night (out Thurs 3rd Nov) I am feeling inspired to write about all things shiny today yay! So here we go.

Latest love and obsession... Kallinanthi Collection by Clarissa Hulse for Harlequin.

Out just a short while ago (September 2011), this range of fabrics and wallpapers is inspired by her passion for plants and pressed flowers.

It is bright, show-stopping and oh so colourful. Stunning fabrics include Salvia – a beautiful embroidered silk to Demeter stripe – a digitally printed distinctive watercolour stripe, and wallpapers range from the delicate Grasses design to the bold, striking Persephone.

All of the designs highlight Clarissa’s flair to create the ultimate combination of colour, print and texture. And, to top it off, the range is full of shine and shimmer. 

My favourite - Persephone, bold large scale design, woven silk, in lustrous bright Turmeric

Other sparkly and shiny things to have taken my fancy of late are...

Velvet Brown's globe shaped tea-light holder £6.95

John Lewis' shiny wintry leaf spray napkin ring £3.50 each

The White Company glass beaded placemats £25 for 2

And it you fancy a bit of sparkle in your life but don't want to have to spend money on shiny new home accessories, why not check out Rust-Oleum metallic spray paint and give some of your existing objects a makeover.
This paint is perfect for creating elegant and brilliant metallic finishes. It can be applied to wood, metal, plaster, masonry, ceramic or wicker. It is fast-drying, can be used indoor and outdoor and available in bright gold, gold, chrome, silver and bright copper. So for £7.98 (available from B&Q and Homebase nationally) this has to be the cheapest, easiest and most personalised way to add some shimmer and sparkle to your furniture and home accessories this autumn / winter. But don't say I didn't warn you that once you get that spray can going you'll find it hard to stop...! Send in any photos... x

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Loopy hoopy wall art

Colour, bright vivid colour and bold funky patterns make my heart sing!

These are my latest handmade-tastic creations - loopy hoopys! People have often commented that they find it hard to find that perfect piece of art or decorative object for their walls, or that they just can't find wall art that is the right colour for the space they want to fill. So, taking some inspiration from an American maker, I decided to make some bold and funky wall art myself.

I took 3 sizes of wooden embroidery hoops (10", 9" and 8"), covered them in some vivid, floral fabric and embellished them with a few little buttons to give them more depth and a 3D look. Pretty quick, inexpensive and so simple but oh so impactful and most importantly totally unique.

I've made them to sell at the Contemporary Homemade Fair at Victory Hall in Exminster this Saturday 29th October (only 4 days away!) but I'm finding it terribly hard to package them up for sale. When a friend commented on how fab they would look in my living room I very much agreed and now want to keep them for myself...but hey ho, it gives me an excuse to go out fabric hunting to make up a load more!

Let me know your thoughts on my loopy hoopys and if you go and make some yourself please email me some photos so I can share them on the blog.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Spreading some Home Restyler warmth

At this time of year, all I can think about is getting cosy, layering up, snuggling and keeping warm.

Exeter Express & Echo shared some of my ideas and tips for cosying up on Thursday...
... and Devon Life shared some of Home Restyler's advice for creating a warm and cosy feel to your Living Room and Bathroom this aumtumn / winter in the latest November 2011 issue, now on shelf.

So batten down the hatches (cor blimey it's windy out there tonight!) light some candles and snuggle to your hearts' content! x

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Restyle: from fusty to funky

Talk about fusty, smelly and down-trodden... this poor old ottoman was left lonely in a charity shop. A long time had it been left on it's lonesome, dreaming of the day someone would come to its resuce and give it some longed for tender loving care.

 Well, as luck would have it, one Home Restyler did happen upon it and with much glee handed over a few notes and brought it back to Restyler HQ to give it a total overhaul... see what you think...

Cute, little thing from the font

Ooh, nice behind!

Inside from above

With it's little insert, would be great as a sewing box

Funky fabric up close

I have a feeling this little ottoman come sewing box hadn't had its lid lifted in about 50 years. Wow that fusty, musty moth-eaten stype of smell was pretty instense but now, after it's restyle it smells as fresh as a daisy.

It has been painted in various shade depths of Louis Blue and Old White paint and re-upholstered in, what I think is a totally funky, retro looking blue and green treescape fabric. I've added a braid around the edge of the lid fabric too. Whoever ends up buying this piece could make a matching seat cushion to go on top of the lid, however I like it the way it is - distressed, washed down and radical - yeah baby!

If you want to see it for real or any of my other restyled furniture, why not pop along to the Contemporary Homemade Fair at Victory Hall, Exminster on Saturday 29th October between 10am - 4pm. Don't come too late in the day though, as if last year is anything to go by, most things sell quite fast. There will be plenty there to see and buy and also lots of yummy cakes to eat...mine'll be coffee & walnut or lemon drizzle, actually maybe chocolate brownie, no make that a scone... see what have I told you about being totally indecisive!

Chop, chop, chop - working outdoors

Before I show & tell my latest furniture restyle, I'd love to show you what I've been up so far today as my morning's workplace was a bit different to normal. I started off wrapped up in my cold weather gear & boilersuit to take on a load of tree slices that needed de-barking and sanding. Good job, I'm not precious about my fingernails and don't mind the off slice or two across my hands...(a nickname of mine that has always stuck is Klutzenietz, because I really can be a total klutz at times!)... as three hours wielding a chisel and hammer has not done my hands any favours. But it's all worth it as it's all in aid of creating some rustic looking decorative pieces to sell next weekend at the Contemporary Homemade Fair in Exminster. Here's some photos of where I got busy with my tree stumps.

In my workshop
Been having fun wheeling the barrow!
Getting back to nature

I'll post some photos of the final creations soon...I've only got just over a week to finish them all eek!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Before & after: geometric stool

I'm looking at my watch in's 5pm, where has the day gone?! I have to say, I'm loving the fact that the air has turned crisp, there's a chill to it making me glad of my snug boots and warm jumper and to top it off the sun is shining. Can I justify a hot chocolate when I clock off today?!

I have been working really hard of late, trying to get everything ready for the Contemporary Homemade Fair where I'll be selling my wares in Exmister next Saturday. Here is oneof the latest items to be finished and set aside ready for selling...

Unloved stool before

This poor stool was hidden in a dark corner of an antiques shop near Southampton, when I came across it. It was very tatty, the cover loose and worn and it was crying out for a total overhaul so..

Restyled stool after

...I took it under my wing and gave it a new lease of life! I painted the stool in a mixture of paints to match a funky geometric print fabric I had in my collection, gave it a good distressing and completed it with some flanged braid to create a modern yet classic looking stool. Perfect to just have around to rest your weary feet on or to pile magazines on.

Sitting pretty next to my last few plants to be potted up

Many more to follow...

Happy chilly evening!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Ooh la la! Before & After furniture restyle

I have been dying to get this project finished and share it with you and now, after much hard work and patience, it brings me such delight and pleasure to share with you, my latest before and after.

I restyled the french chairs you see below for a favourite client of mine Sarah Lauren Photography. Sarah was looking for a beautiful seating arrangement, which would be a focal point of her soon to be newly designed and restyled studio. She wanted something gorgeous to look at and sit on, totally unique and indivually designed for her and to have a romantic, shabby look and feel about them. See what you think...

Hmm, not sure about these old things, bit old fashioned and fusty looking...

Ooh la la, are those a pair of gorgeous french chairs I see before me? 

How elegant and refined would you feel sitting in these shabby chic, distressed chairs?

The process: I stripped the chairs to their bare bones and gave them a good sanding down to smooth them, ready for applying Annie Sloan paint. I used a base of Paris Grey and then applied two coats of Old White before rubbing them down, waxing with clear wax and then sanding to achieve a shabby, worn, distressed look.

Geoff Bennett Upholstery (01626 361173) then replaced the worn, old seat pads with a lovely deep ones to ensure a comfy resting place for ones derriere and then recovered the chairs in Villa Nova Bruges River fabric.

And here they are in all their glory at the recent The Wedding Fair that took place at Westpoint on 8th & 9th October 2011.

Sarah is delighted with the final result and I can honestly say that all of the hard work and effort to create them was absolutely worth it. I am so pleased with how they look and can't wait to see them in place once we finalise Sarah's studio.

I hope you like them too, I'd love to hear your thoughts on them. And if you'd like any help with finding similar items or want me to restyle some furniture for you then please do get in touch!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Bake your cake & hang the tin on the wall!

Oma, my German grandmother, is a fantastic baker. Over the years she has baked many delicious treats and her most special recipe is her German Apple Cake. This recipe is top secret and has only ever been shared with my papa. He took on the mantle many years ago and has developed it to be the most incredible apple cake you could ever eat. I'm not personally a fan of anything with cooked apples in but this cake really is something.

Today I'm not going to share with you the recipe for this infamous cake, because if I did, I'd have to shoot you (!) but I want to show you an idea I came across in a German magazine a while ago. Living at Home ( magazine is a beautiful magazine, like no other in the UK, which is crammed full of inspirational and unique ideas for your home. Each issue surprises me with new ideas about how to decorate your house, ways to use old objects in a new way, recipes...the list goes on.

The stylist of this photo shoot (Katja Graumann) has thought of an innovative way to use old flan tins. Ok, so not all of us will have many of these, nor will everyone think that this look is for them, but for me, I think it is brilliant. Why? Becuase years ago my Oma gave me a load of her old flan tins and I've never known what to do with them. I love baking that's true, but more of your sponge cakes, individual cupcakes, traybakes and the like. So Oma this goes to you and when I create my next wall-piece your flan tins will be in pride of place!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Shabby chic ways to restyle your home

Exeter Express & Echo article - Thurs 6th October

Looking for something unique?

If so, then you will be sure to find something at an exciting fair that will be taking place on Saturday 29th October at Victory Hall, Exmister. 

Contemporary Homemade Fair 2011

With the emphasis very much on the contemporary, handmade and homemade, the Contemporary Homemade Fair 2011 is an eclectic mix of gifts, jewellery, ceramics, photography, prints, home furnishings, up-cycled furniture, stained glass art and cakes.

Bear Graphics - Typographic Prints

The first fair took place last year and the concept was so successful that fair organiser Kay Brown, decided to make even bigger and better this year.  "Not only is the fair a great platform for recently started as well as seasoned crafters, but it's an excellent place for Christmas gift shopping. With so much to choose from you'll be sure to find presents for friends and family, unique things for your home and maybe even a little something for yourself too!"

Amy Orange Juice - Stained Glass Creations

Daisy Chain Jewellery Design

Fiona Merredew - Cake Designer

Home Restyler - up-cycled furniture & home furnishings

I'm very excited to say that Home Restyler will also be at the fair! I'll be there selling up-cyled furniture, tree stump home accessories and other unique decor and gift pieces.

Exminster's 'Coffee on the Corner', which is attached to the hall, will also be open for locally homemade food and fairtrade refreshments.

The fair is open from 10am til 4pm and entrance is free - hooray! So why not pop it in your diary (Saturday 29th October) and come along to enjoy a hall full of homemade, contemporary gifts, objects and treats. Last year's products were hot property and sold fast, so get there early to avoid disappointment!

For more information check out and if you have any questions please contact Kay at

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

What is most important in life?

Wow, sometimes things are sent to try us and make us think about what really matters in life. Generally we think about all of the tasks and chores we need to get done to get through the day, without much stopping to think about the wider picture. Well this weekend knocked me sideways and made me think about life, us - you & me, human fragility and "what's it all about?".

Why, when I ordinarily spend the majority of my time thinking about all things home, am I in the midst of such deep thinking, you may wonder? My husband Simon has spent the past four months training for the Jersey marathon. He set himself the challenge as he had always wanted to complete a marathon, and aside from a bout of illness towards the end of the training period, was committed to running within a respectable four hours. So, we flew to Jersey (minus my gorgeous girlie, who was having a whale of a time with her grandparents!) and felt like we were on a mediterranean summer holiday. Perfectly clear blue sky, wall to wall sunshine, turquoise waters, relaxed cafe culture, a stunning hotel...shame he had a marathon to run really, but hey I still got to drink cocktails!

Simon, before the race, in front of the finish line...

So far, so good. After a breakfast of two bananas, he merrily set off to the start line along with about 400 other runners, ready to begin the race at 9am. For some reason I had a sense of foreboding and had made him promise me he wouldn't do something like die, it was after all going to be 29 degrees on that very day. For the next few hours I pootled about taking in the sights and sounds of the local St Helier area and at 12.30 I got myself a prime viewing position, ready to cheer on Matt (my husbands colleague) and Simon as they came the last 100 metres before crossing the finish line. I saw Matt fly past, pretty damn good at 3hrs43 mins and kept waiting... after 4.5 hrs I started feeling sick...after 5 hours I turned to the man on my right and said "So when do I start worrying and call the hospital?!"...

...two minutes later my phone rang "Hello, Mrs Korzenietz, this is St Helier Accident & Emergency department. Your husband is with us and you should come here immediately".

Gulp. Panic. Fear. Tears.

"Where am I? Oh, St Helier, Jersey. Where is the hospital please? How do I get there? Can someone help me please?"

Without going into detail my husband had run 24 miles so had only 2 miles left until the finish. Ever the stubborn, determined and optimistic dedicated guy that he is, he had ignored all of the warning signals that started after only 13 miles and had kept running. Despite lots of water he collapsed and was rushed to A&E. He had suffered severe dehydration, sunstroke and had a body temperature of 40 degrees. He doesn't remember how he fell, the ambulance ride or about 15 minutes of the whole experience. He woke in hospital very confused.

He could have seriously damaged himself and if he hadn't have been helped and taken to hospital as soon as he was, the outcome could have been grave.

The runners waiting at the start line

So, if you have had the patience to read this I imagine you will be able to empathise with me and understand why it is that I have been asking myself 'what is important in life?'

All I can say, now that my husband is back home and much better (although not 100%), family and friends are absolutely everything. They are what is most important in life. Their health, their happiness and them just being around.

So today, I'm not going to blog about furniture, money-saving tips or ideas and inspiration but just remind you, that although we all need to do our jobs and chores, we also need to regularly stop and give a bloody great big hug to those that we hold dear and special in our lives!

Thanks for reading, big hugs x