Everyone’s been thinking about alfresco dining ideas.
With the recent heatwave hitting the UK hard, it’s been difficult not to spend all our time outdoors. Our new Flowers of Liberty range of luxurious, English-made homeware and gifts has been sliding off the shelves quicker than you can say Mary Berry this week – and for good reason.
Covered in our stunning Theodora Liberty print, our collection of plates, placemats and table accessories is the only way to serve up summertime dishes when dining alfresco.
Be inspired for your own garden outdoor dining ideas and share your pictures with us @Liberty #FlowersOfLiberty.
Interior designer Selina Lake talks about turning your outside space into a stylish setting with her tips on how to make, create and decorate
Selina Lake is a popular interiors’ stylist and best-selling author well known for her use of colour, and pretty, vintage and accessible style. Her work appears in magazines across the world, including Mollie Makes, Living etc, Homes & Antiques, Flow Magazine and Country Living as well as via her popular blog www.selinalake.blogspot.com. In her latest book ‘Selina Lake Outdoor Living‘ she takes her styling and decorating ideas outside and shares her style tips for outdoor lounging, garden parties, picnics, hideaways and weddings.
We’re excited to have Selina in-store Sunday 11 May 2-3pm in the Outdoor Living department on the 4th floor to launch her new book. Whether you’re eating alfresco or sleeping beneath the stars, ‘Selina Lake Outdoor Living’ is packed with inspiring and stylish ideas for enjoying outdoor life to the full. It’s a great opportunity to come and and meet Selina and get your hands on a signed copy of her book.
If you can’t make it into store, you can still pick up a few of Selina’s top tips right here as she shares some of the best bits from her book:
1. Logistically, setting up a dining table in the middle of a buttercup field, on a River bank or even at the bottom of your garden does involve a little pre-planning. Invest in a lightweight folding table for such occasions that can easily be assembled and ask your guests to bring along their own chairs – that way your create an easy and casual mix and match feel around the table. Remember to take a tablecloth along with you to cover up the table, perhaps a length of your favourite Liberty Print?
2. If like me you enjoy buying and collecting vintage Eiderdowns and unique cushions, then you could create a comfy patchwork seating area on the ground as a fun way to use them in the Summer months, when it’s too hot to adorn beds with them. I love Bluebellgrey Floral watercolour cushions available in Liberty’s Outdoor Living Dept.
3. I like using traditional gardening items in different ways. Could an old plant pot be used as a cutlery holder on your outside table? Or how about filling a wheelbarrow with ice and bottles of drinks to create a moveable bar perfect for a garden party?
Need a quick way to update your outdoor space for a party, barbecue or just because you feel it needs sprucing up? Selina has chosen three of her favourite pieces from the Liberty Outdoor Living department to give it a speedy update:
1. Liberty Print Deckchairs – I love deck chairs and I love Liberty prints so for me this is a perfect combo. These chairs would be a super edition to a garden, deck or balcony – how lovely to soak up the summer sunshine from these seats?
2. Turquoise Watering Can – ‘I garden therefore I am …’ Love the colour of this and it could double as an outdoor vase for long sprigs of Lilacs or hydrangeas.
3. Cream 6 Glass Carrier – this a great way to serve drinks at a garden party, you could add sprigs of wild flowers to the carrier using ribbon for an extra prettiness.
Liberty’s Head of Design for Liberty Art Fabrics and Furnishing Fabrics, Emma Mawston, offers her top tips on quick and easy ways to update your home for spring.
Now that spring is here with its longer days and lighter evenings, turn your attention to your home and brush off the winter cobwebs. Give it a spring clean and take pleasure in sprucing up your interiors with decorative touches. We’ve turned to our Head of Design at Liberty Art Fabrics and Furnishings Fabrics, Emma Mawston, for some easy tips on how to do this.
1) Visit an antique fair like Ardingly or a vintage shop like North Cross Vintage in East Dulwich and find yourself something unique and original. But here’s a word of warning: Go with something in mind or you could very easily end up buying lots of things you don’t need!
2) Wallpaper floorboards – mix wallpaper with painted boards and painted walls all in tonal colours so they blend together.
3) To make your bathroom walls original and interesting, buy lots of your favourite covers of old paperback books and cover your bathroom walls in them – forget about book-printed wallpaper.
4) Cover your living room in a beautiful background wallpaper, like Riley or Hebe. Then hang beautiful pictures on the wall to create a room ambience that is much more beautiful than painted walls.
Unique cake decorating techniques for the perfect spring bake.
Baker and cake decorator extraordinaire, Lily Vanilli has been wowing customers at her East London bakery with her naturally delectable designs. Boasting the best bakewell in town, the shop on Columbia Road opens solely on Sundays, offering Lily’s stand-out bakes and a cosy vintage-feel interior to enjoy them in. Cakes feature fresh flowers, fruits and nuts as her decoration techniques focus on putting nature firmly at the helm.
In this easy to follow guide, Lily shows us how to make crystallised spring flowers, perfect for giving your Easter cake that extra wow factor. She also shares her thoughts on traditional Easter baking and her top picks from our Kitchen collection.
“For the first time in recent memory, April actually feels like the start of spring and not a stretch into the abyss from the previous winter to the next one. The sun is out (mostly), the flowers are blooming at the right times and the first spring crops have been healthy. This is good news for the pastry chef, who looks forward to this time of year when some of the best fruit and edible flowers are on their way into season.
As traditional Easter baking (bunnies, eggs, chicks) has never really been my thing I have been busying myself with crystallising the first crop of edible spring flowers. If done carefully enough (it can be painstaking work, though the kind many bakers enjoy, myself included) they will last up to a year. Store them airtight in a cool place and make sure they are fully sugar coated.
Use them fresh or crystallised to decorate cakes and pastries for a really pretty spring look with subtle, fresh flavours.”
Some lovely edible flowers out now include:
Viola and cultivated/wild primrose
To crystallise a handful of edible flowers you will need:
1–2 egg whites, loosened with a few drops of water (approximately 4 drops per white)
Small bowl of caster sugar
One baking tray, lined
Fine, clean paintbrush, not used for anything besides food
1. Clip the flower stems as close to the base as possible and snip away the sepals (the green pockets on the back of the flower). Place a flower on your prepared tray and use the paintbrush to coat with the egg white, making sure you are thorough. Brush away any excess egg white. Hold the flower by what’s left of the stem over the sugar bowl and sprinkle generously with sugar. Turn it over and shake gently to release any excess sugar.
2. Do the same for the back of the flower, making sure the entire flower is coated. Place it face up on the baking tray. Repeat with the other flowers, and when you are done, put them in a cool, dry, dark place overnight or until the flowers feel crisp to the touch. Store them in an airtight container.
Lily’s Baking Picks:
Shop Lily’s top three kitchen picks from our inspirational Baking Essentials edit and kit yourself out like a pro. From the all important wooden spoon, to recipes from the Peruvian Kitchen, these pieces will enhance any culinary collection.
1. Blue Six-Piece Enamel Prep Set by Falcon, £55.00
2. Olive Wood Spoon, £4.95
3. Ceviche Peruvian Kitchen, £25.00
Lily Vanilli’s first book, ‘Sweet Tooth’ will be available from the Liberty Home department soon!
Share your Easter baking successes with us and Lily:
Twitter: @Libertylondon @lilyvanillicake
Instagram: @LibertyLondon @lily_vanilli_cake
Rosie and Hannah from The New Craft Society return again to guest blog for us, this time they have been working on a pussy bow tie project.
We catch up with Rosie and Hannah,
“Pussy bow ties are equal parts 70’s hippy and modern city-chic; what’s not to love? Tana Lawn is the perfect fabric for creating one of these subtle, floppy beauties and we love the opportunities the different prints give you for brightening up an outfit. The whole project takes under an hour to complete and is so easy – give it a go!”
You will need:
A quarter metre of Tana Lawn, we used ‘Ricardo’s Bloom’
Rotary cutter or scissors
Sewing machine with a quarter inch foot (not imperative but certainly helps!)
Needle and thread
You need to:
1. Cut two 3 inch x 1m strips of your fabric.
2. Lay the two strips wrong sides together then cut their ends at alternate 45 degree angles.
3. Keeping the strips wrong sides facing, pin them together.
4. Stitch around the edges of your strips with a quarter inch seam allowance, a quarter inch foot makes this much easier. Leave a gap of about 4 inches along one of the edges.
5. Snip the edges of the corners off and snip into the seam allowance the whole way around making sure you don’t accidentally cut into the seam.
6. Using the gap you left along one of the edges, turn the bow right side out. A tool like a loop turner can make this easier.
7. Press your tie flat then slip-stitch along the gap.
Your tie should now be finished! We tied ours around our favourite silk shirt, how will you wear yours?
Choose your favourite print from our new collection here.
Follow Hannah and Rosie on twitter @newcraftsociety