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May 20th  
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Here at Cosy Home, we’re always looking for simple home projects to give the house that individual feel. This envelope-style cushion cover couldn’t be more simple to make, even if you’ve got no sewing experience, and you can customise it any way you like. Here’s how:

What you’ll need

A cushion inner pad. These are available from haberdashers and home retail stores, such as Ikea.

Fabric – you’ll need sufficient to wrap right round your cushion pad, with an overlap of around 20cm.

A sewing machine – although this isn’t essential, it will speed the job up!

Cotton, in either matching or a contrast colour

Scissors

Tape measure

Pins

Needle

Trim – this can be buttons, bows, tassels or pretty much anything else you like

Three press studs

What to do

Assemble all your materials

Make sure you’ve got everything you need to hand before you start – there’s nothing more irritating than reaching for the pins and remembering you’ve let them upstairs.

Start by cutting out your fabric. If you’re new to sewing, a good tip is to use fabric that’s either checked or striped, as this makes it much easier to get the seams straight. We used a cushion pad that was 50cm square, so we cut out a strip of fabric that was 120cm long (50cm plus 50cm plus 14cm overlap plus 6cm seam allowance) by 54cm wide (50cm plus 4cm seam allowance). We chose to have our stripes running lengthways down the fabric, as this made matching the seams easier.

Next, iron a 1.5cm seam into each end of the strip.

Pressing the first seam

Then, fold the material over once more and iron this double fold. Repeat for the other end of the strip.

Iron and pin a double seam

Pin the seam into position, then machine sew it into place using either contrasting or matching thread – we chose a navy blue contrasting colour.

Sewing the seam into place

Now, lay the fabric down with the wrong side of the seam face down. Fold it into position so that the back is the size of your cushion pad, and the front overlaps by 15cm. (You can position the ‘flap’ of the envelope wherever you like, but 1/3 from the top or 1/3 from the bottom looks best visually.)

Make sure the wrong sides of the seams are facing up when you fold the fabric into position

Now, in both side seams and sew them up around 1.5cm from the edge, using the stripes as a guide if you can. Fasten the loose ends off neatly by knotting or tying, and turn the cushion cover right way round.

Turn the cover right side round.

Iron the cover again so the edges are square and crisp.

Now, use the tape measure to mark three equal points on the underside of the top flap, and put a pin in each to mark the place. Sew a press stud in position, so when the flap is closed the stud is completely concealed. Don’t worry if your stitches show through the top a bit – those will be hidden by the trim.

Sew the press studs into position

Next, get your trim ready. We used buttons (always keep any spare buttons that come your way, there’s nothing as satisfying as an old-fashioned button box!), but you could also use little bows of ribbon, decorative knots, fabric patches, tassels or anything else that takes your fancy.

The button box!

Sew the three trims into place on top of the seam so that they hide any stitching from the press studs.

The finished cushion

And voila! the finished cushion. We’d love to hear how you get on with your own versions of this project, so do share any photos on our Facebook page or on Twitter.

By Sara Walker

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May 14th  
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ROAR! Whether your child’s a giganotosaurus geek, an expert on eotyrannus or just thinks Barney’s the best thing since sliced bread, our dinosaur-themed accessories are sure to be a hit.

1. Dinosaur lampshade, Andrea Lauren

Dinosaur lampshade by Andrea Lauren

This grey drum lampshade, handmade in north east England, is covered with cheerful looking mint green dinosaurs. Ideal for adding a little prehistoric pizzazz to younger children’s rooms without giving them nightmares. £38, available from Hunky Dory Home.

2. Dinosaur world map, Maps International

Dinosaur world map by Maps International

Struggling to get an older child interested in geography? This map of the world covered with dinosaur silhouettes could be the answer! Imagine how much fun you’d have with lessons if the answer to ‘where’s America?’ was ‘turn left at the tyranosaurus rex, and it’s under the diplodocus’. Prices start from £80, available from Maps International.

3. Dinosaur chalkboard sticker, Spin Collective

Dinosaur chalkboard sticker from Spin Collective

A generous 50cm by 50cm, this dinosaur chalkboard sticker is brilliantly practical. It’s easy to apply, remove and position, and won’t take up any room. It also comes complete with a set o Crayola coloured chalk sticks – great for notes and memos. £18, available from The Spin Collective.

4. Personalised knitted dinosaur cushion, Justine Louise

This cushion has been knitted from Italian merino wool, and shows a dinosaur silhouette plus your child’s name. Ideal for decorating your child’s bed or bedroom chair, for extra comfort when reading all those dinosaur books! Polyester pad included. Prices start from £55, available from Justine Louise.

5. Personalised dinosaur print, Letterfest

Personalised dinosaur print from Letterfest

A bright, colourful dinosaur print to brighten up children’s rooms, made up of your child’s name in different fonts. First, middle and surnames and birth dates can all be included if required, and there’s a choice of three designs -  T-Rex, triceratops and diplodocus. Framing available, prices start from £22 unframed. Available from Letterfest.

6. Dinosaur wallpaper

Dinosaur wallpaper from In-Spaces

For real dino fans, there’s this wallpaper, designed and created by  Sian Zeng and printed in England on paper from sustainable forests. We can see this paper finding its way into the rest of the house, as well – wouldn’t it look great in a downstairs cloakroam, or as a feature wall in a garden room behind a wall of plants? £65 for a 10 metre roll, available from www.in-spaces.com.

7. Dino doppy, Aspace

Dinosaur soft toy from Aspace

For younger children, this soft and squishy stegosaurus is a perfect gift for any pre-school paleontologist. Made from 100% polyester, it’s suitable from birth. Available from Aspace.

8. Dinosaur bedding set, Fox Organic Kids

Dinosaur bedding from Fox Organic Kids

T-Rex, diplodocus and triceratops march through a Jurassic landscape on this bedding set, which includes one reversible single bed duvet cover (dinosaur print on top, green stripe underneath), and one pillowcase in dinosaur print. Also available in cot bed size. £52, available from Fox Organic Kids.

9. Felt dinosaur head, Mini Eden

Felt dinosaur head from Mini Eden

This wall mounted triceratops head is made from felt, and is brimming with personality. Great for inspiring budding paleontologists or explorers, and friendly enough not to be scary. £65, available from Mini Eden.

10. Babysaurus growth wall chart sticker, RoomMates

Dinosaur growth chart from Becky and Lolo

Watch your little dinosaur enthusiast grow tall and strong with the help of this giant dinosaur wall chart. The set of removable and re-positionable wall decals includes a palm tree chart, a friendly blue dinosaur and some clouds and leaves to help you set the scene or use as height markers. Each element is easy to apply, remove, and re-position, and won’t damage paintwork. £45.49, available from Becky and Lolo.

By Sara Walker

 

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May 5th  
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Whether you’re a coffee drinker or not, there’s something about a coffee table that really finishes a room off.

If you’re a fan of practical and understated or a conversation piece, and whether you use it as a dumping ground for newspapers or for serving coffee, there’s a style of coffee table to suit every use and budget. Here are a few of our favourites.

1. Rouen coffee table, Alison at Home

Rouen coffee table from Alison at Home

Part of a range of French-inspired furniturre, this generously sized table includes two drawers finished with teardrop handles. It is hand-carved from solid, sustainably sourced mango wood in a classic French style and features cabriole legs. £295 from Alison at Home.

2. Tua coffee table, PUJI

Tua teak coffee table from PUJI

This unusual solid wood coffee table has been meticulously pieced together from more than 100 pieces of teak. The table sits on castors so it can be easily moved from one place to another, and has attractive metal detailing to give it a vintage, industrial feel. This would be a real talking point in your living room. £315, available from PUJI.

3. Milligan retro multi drawer coffee table, Atkin and Thyme

Milligan low multi drawer coffee table

This quirky low-rise mango wood coffee table which will add an individual touch. The four drawers can be opened from each side and have contrasting handles. £369, available from Atkin and Thyme.

4. Iron trunk coffee table, Vincent and Barn

Iron trunk coffee table from Vincent and Barn

If your coffee table needs to combine practicality with style, this iron trunk version will give you valuable additional storage space, a sturdy surface and an unusual item of furniture, all in one. Great value too, at £185 from Vincent and Barn.

5. Range round oak and brass coffee table, Josie Morris

Range round coffee table from MADE

With a retro, Scandinavian feel, this coffee table is perfect for mixing and matching with vintage pieces. It has three legs, each one accented with a brass cuff to set off the rustic oak. £249, available from MADE.

6. Walnut Bajot table, Boutique Camping

Walnut Bajot table from Boutique Camping

A handcrafted piece of furniture at an unbelievable price, this low walnut Bajot table would work well in a small or dark room, as it doesn’t take up much room and isn’t tall enough to block light. £39, available from Boutique Camping.

7. Classic solid oak coffee table with drawers, Hampshire Furniture

Classic wooden coffee table with drawers from Hampshire Furniture

If you like a classic look, how about this solid oak coffee table? Scratch-resistant and long-lasting, it has four large drawers for useful storage, a large open shelf, two-tone steel handles and a satin lacquer finish. it would make a practical choice for a family home, and costs £329 from Hampshire Furniture.

8. Copper round coffee table, Zuiver

Round copper coffee table with a mirrored top

Here’s something a bit unusual. This stylish copper mirrored round coffee table is an original design from the Netherlands, and will add a focal point to your living room. Available in two sizes, prices start from £180 from 4Living.

9. Amelia flower coffee table, Artisanti

Floral painted wooden coffee table with drawers

Sign up for some flower power with this lovely vintage-style floral patterned table. Topped with a smooth, painted top with carved edge detailing, it has solid, integrated legs for stability and a deep storage drawer. Was £279, now £250 from Artisanti.

10. Six drawer coffee table, Melody Maison

Grey painted coffee table with drawers from Melody Maison

This coffee table is part of the Portsmouth Grey range. Made from solid wood, it’s painted grey/green with a dark wood top and has six drawers (three on each side) for storage. A large, practical centrepiece for bigger rooms. £309.95 from Melody Maison.

By Sara Walker

 

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April 16th  
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If your little princess likes to rule the household, give her a worthy setting with our pick of the top ten regal bedroom accessories.

1. Mini room divider, Opera Fun

This cute screen, with its fairy tale castle, will be a big hit with your child – but it’s also a practical way of screening off clutter or sub dividing a room into dressing and play areas. Available from Arthouse, priced at £30.

2. Princess print, Milly Green

This sweet print is a take on the classic children’s tale ‘The Princess and the Pea’, and features a slightly worried-looking royal mouse on top of a pile of mattresses. The print can be personalised with your child’s name, and is also available framed. Unframed, it costs £25.50 from Milly Green.

3. ‘The princess sleeps here’ wooden sign, Heaven Sends

This shabby chic sign is ideal for hanging on your child’s bedroom door to mark their room. (We may know one or two slightly…ahem…older girls who’d like this on their bedroom door, as well.) Priced at £6.90, available from KiwiFunk.

4. Fairy tale bookends, Heather Alstead

These contemporary bookends are made from laser cut mild steel with a mat off-white finish or mat black finish. Incorporated into the classic fairytale quotes ‘Once upon a time’ and ‘The end’ are little silhouettes of princes, princesses and castle turrets. These make a pretty and practical addition to a bedroom, great for keeping books or notebooks tidy. Available from Great British Designs, £28.

5. Child’s chair, Made with Love Designs

The ultimate accessory for your child’s princess-themed room has to be their very own throne! Made to order by Made with Love Designs, these vintage-French-style Queen Anne chairs are available in a range of fabrics and textures, and at 67cm in height, 54cm wide and with a seat height of 40cm, they’re perfectly made for little bodies. £150, available from Made with Love Designs.

6. Full length ivory mirror, Ayers and Graces

Make sure your princess can admire herself in her full royal regalia with this full length French-style ivory mirror with a 10cm frame. Also available in white, gold or champagne silver gilt finish, it costs £199 from Ayers and Graces.

7. Felt swan head, Aspace

Add a quirky touch to your princess’ castle with this beautiful swan head, complete with crown. Handmade from felt in in the UK, it costs £70 from Aspace.

8. Knitted princess cushion, Justine Louise

This handmade knitted cushion is personalised with your child’s name in the colours of your choice and decorated with optional sequins and sparkly gems. Made using soft Italian merino wool, it has shell button fastenings. Prices start from £55 from Justine Louise.

9. White cut out heart triple mirror, Melody Maison

This triple mirror, ideal for making sure you’ve got your crown on straight, is made from wood with a white hand painted finish and has a cut out heart to add a girly feel. Designed to sit on top of a dressing table or chest of drawers, it costs £54.95 from Melody Maison.

10. Fabric bunting, Ginger Ray

Fabric bunting in pink and green with a floral design to add a touch of charm to a plain bedroom wall or the outside of a bedroom door. Bunting measures 3.5m and contains 14 flags in total. £8.99 from Ginger Ray.

By Sara Walker

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April 13th  
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Adding a bird box to your garden will help provide a safe environment for nest building, and our top ten colourful, funky bird houses are pretty as well as practical. When choosing a site for the box, make sure it’s securely fixed to a solid surface and there’s a clear flight path to the entrance. It should be sheltered from rain, wind and strong sunlight, and positioned at least a couple of metres from the ground to help deter predators.

1. Bird house, Idyll Home

Wooden bird box from Idyll Home

This simple bird house is made from FSC wood with a metal roof. Personalise it by painting or staining it, or even adding your own design of flowers, birds, zebras…the birds won’t mind. £14.50 from Idyll Home.

2. Eva handpainted birdhouse, Oscar and Eve

Metal Eva bird house, handpainted in Kashmir

Here’s an unusual avian abode that’s already been handpainted for you, in Kashmir. This pretty Eva nesting box will brighten up a dull corner of the garden, and is available in red, green and blue. £14.95, available from Oscar and Eve.

3. Thoughtful Gardener bird house, Wild and Wolf

Thoughtful Gardener wooden bird box

A pretty wooden bird house from the Thoughtful Gardener collection by Wild and Wolf, featuring lovely vintage illustrations and the words ’house for birds’, will give your local feathered friends a home to be proud of. £21.25, available from Berry Red.

4. Mr Birdee nest box, Clare Loves

Mr Birdee sustainable plywood nesting box

This unusual nest box is designed for all manner of small garden birds.  Made from high quality birch plywood from sustainably managed forests, it arrives flat packed and assembly is straightforward.  £19 from Clare Loves.

5. Victorian house bird box, Lindleywood

Handmade Victorian house nesting box by Lindleywood

Lindleywood are a British company based in Lincolnshire, who design and make a wide of beautiful, quirky bird boxes. They’re ideal for gifts as they can be personalised and matched to your recipient. We love this Victorian house, complete with front door and bay window. £55, available from Lindleywood.

6. Bird house, Orla Kiely

Wooden bird box in Orla Kiely’s striking trademark design

A striking and stylish wooden birdhouse, suitable for the very chicest of chaffinches or trendiest of thrushs. Decorated in Orla’s signature stem design, it has a hanging loop on the back for fixing and a practical side opening for cleaning. £25 from Berry Red.

7. Sylvester bird box, Red5

Wooden cat-shaped Sylvester bird box

Birds will always trust their instincts rather than appearances, and know they can safely fly into the ‘cat’s mouth’ with this quirky bird box. Made from durable marine quality plywood with good insulation properties, it’s designed to be warm in winter and cool in summer. £19.95 from Red5.

8. New England nesting box, Laura Ashley

New-England-style bird house from Laura Ashley

A simple white-painted nesting box with shingled roof in the New England style, this nesting box would look lovely anywhere in the garden. Was £26, now £18.20 in the sale at Laura Ashley.

9. Pub bird box, Lindleywood

Pub bird house from Lindleywood

Here’s another pick from Lincolnshire-based company Lindleywood – this cute little pub. An ideal gift, this is one local hostelry you’ll be happy to have nearby. £59, available from Lindleywood.

10. Copper roofed bird house, Berry Red

Copper-roofed wooden birdbox

Designed especially for members of the tit family of birds, this wooden birdhouse has a copper roof which will fade to a delicate verdigris over time.  With a side opening for winter cleaning, it’s made from gently stained, treated wood to withstand outdoor life.  £20, available from Berry Red.

By Sara Walker

 

 

 

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April 10th  
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Just because you’ve grown out of having a My Little Pony bedroom doesn’t mean you can’t add a little grown-up equestrian elegance to your home. Lots of designers have latched on to the equine trend, so make sure you win by a head with one of our top ten picks.

1. Running horse sculpture, Artisanti

Running horse sculpture from Artisanti

This sculpture in metal resin with a bronze finish captures the power and speed of a galloping horse, and is sure to make an impact either displayed on its own or as a set with the other figures in the range. The sculpture measures approximately 35 cm x 9.5 x 23cm, and is available from Artisanti, priced at £62.

2. Dala Horse shot glasses, Lotta Odelius

Dala Horse shot glasses by Lotta Odelius

For a less naturalist look, how about this set of four shot glasses with the classic Swedish Dala Horse design. Designed by Lotta Odelius, the horses are printed in red with green and white manes and bridles. Each glass has a thick base, making them very sturdy and has a capacity of 50ml. Priced at £13 for the set, available from Berry Red.

3. Horse head or rear mug, Yas-Ming

Horse head or rear mugs

These quirky mugs are created in the UK and designed by Yas-Ming Ceramics, a collaboration between designers Yasmin Dilekkaya and Ming Wai Sun. Made from a combination of techniques including slip casting and moulding, the mugs are finished by hand and are available in head or rear designs, sold separately. There’s also a cow version. Available from In-Spaces, £22 each.

4. Crochet horse head, The French Bedroom Company

Crochet-effect horse head, The French Bedroom

This horse head with its crochet pattern textured surface is a quirky and unusual decoration. Put a pair either side of a fireplace or French mirror in the hallway for a real talking point. Available from The French Bedroom Company, priced at £44.

5. Green ceramic Tang horse, Shimu

Green ceramic Tang horses, Shimu

These ceramic horses in a jade green glaze are reproductions of horses produced during China’s Tang Dynasty. Pottery horses like these were produced to be buried with the wealthier members of society. The Chinese believed that this life woud continue into the next, and so in order to preserve their status and high standard of living they would have ceramic replicas of their servants and most important possessions produced to be buried with them. Was £79, now £65, available from Shimu.

6. Horse mugs, Milly Green

Bright and colourful horse mugs, Milly Green

If you’d prefer your equestrian style to be practical as well as fun, these brightly coloured mugs, £10.99 from Milly Green, should fit the bill. Made in fine bone china, and with a design reminiscent of summer gymkhanas, they’re hand decorated in the UK and come in a choice of purple or teal.

7. Horse and hound linen cushion, Voyage

Horse and hound cushion, Voyage

A linen cushion featuring a traditional watercolour print of a huntsman and hounds with a neutral linen background. The edging and reverse of the cushion are covered in a soft red wool check, and it comes complete with a feather pad. Available from Cotswold Trading, was £45.50, now £25.40.

8. ‘Good gossip’ mug, Trumper’s World

‘Good gossip’ horse mug from Trumper’s World

This fine bone china mug features a design from a watercolour painting of two horses. By husband-and-wife artists Ray and Jo Mulry, the mug’s lettering says ‘You can’t beat a good gossip’. It’s priced at £12, and available from Trumper’s World.

9. Horse head bookends, Alison at Home

Resin bronze effect horse head bookends

This pair of horse head bookends is made from moulded resin, giving the impression of tarnished bronze, to add a little class to your library. Each one measures 24.5cm in height. Made from resin so not suitable for supporting particularly heavy books. £34.50 for the pair, available from Alison at Home.

10. Icelandic ponies cushion, By Nord Copenhagen

Icelandic ponies cushion, By Nord Copenhagen

This high quality photo print canvas cushion is inspired by  Nordic nature and features inquisitive Icelandic ponies on the front with a plain black backing. £85, available from Cloudberry Living.

By Sara Walker

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