Lettie Belle

Lettie Belle
The world of a designer and Mummy.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

New Wall Adornments

Our new wall adornments feature one of our best selling motifs: Owls! Each is hand stitched onto organic cotton, with leather and eco-fi felt details. These look great hung as a set, or individually and are made to order. They are framed by an embroidery hoop, and hang very easily as they are very light. We think they are perfect for a Woodland themed nursery, or a child's bedroom. A unique, hand stitched gift to be enjoyed, and treasured forever. Any of our many designs can be made into a wall adornment like these, just get in touch to discuss your idea, lettiebelle@gmail.com

Set of Owl wall adornments, £70

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Transformation Thursday - Living Room Progress

When we viewed this house, I initially thought this room would be a great playroom. However, on a follow up viewing, it was clear that having the playroom at the back of the house was a much better plan! Our last living room was on the first floor of our town house, it was very long but didn't feel wide enough and wasn't very cosy.

This room is an unusual shape, which works nicely and creates a welcoming space. Our sofas are not ideal (husband's purchase for his first flat many years ago), and I cannot stand them, but for now they will have to stay. In time we will be investing in some lovely grey fabric sofas from Habitat. Until then, I add cushions to the leather ones hoping to hide them a bit!We purchased new furniture, rug, and curtains for this room as we wanted a completely new feel to our old house. I love grey and pink together, though it has to be the right shades of both to work! I love the parquet floor, which I think I may have mentioned once or twice before....

Initially, this room had a large gas fireplace and surround, which we ripped out straight away. We stripped all the 1980's style wallpaper. A coat of white paint, as in other rooms, did wonders and made it easy to add decorative elements. The ceiling still needs painting, among other jobs. This room is lovely to sit in every evening, and having the playroom means it stays neat most of the time! There are some old folding doors which can make it one room, rather than leading straight to dining room (see below). We never shut these, as the flow of the rooms is really nice with them open.

Below are some before and after photos of the living room, what do you think?

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Bespoke Cushion

This is one of the most recent commissions I created. It's for a baby's first Christmas, and is based on an antique stuffed panther head in the family home, which the baby loves. It was a lot of fun to work on, and has inspired a 'scary' new collection! It will launch in January, so watch this space.
Here is a look at the process of creating a bespoke cushion. If you would like me to make something special, please do get in touch, lettiebelle@gmail.com and have a look at the Lettie Belle website!


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Bunnies Cushions at Raindrops On Roses

Our Bunnies cushions have always been one of our most popular designs! I create a lot of these with names or in bespoke colours. This particular batch has just been delivered to Raindrops On Roses, a fabulous boutique in St Albans. All profits go to Herts against Cancer charity, to aid early  detection and raise awareness. They promote local and independent designers, and have a fabulous selection of gifts. A real 'must visit' for Christmas shopping!

Raindrops On Roses, 15 High Street, St Albans, Herts, AL3 4EH

Friday, 15 November 2013

Parenting Advice from the 1970s

Yesterday my Mum gave me a book entitled 'Mother's Help' by Susan Dickinson. She borrowed it from the local library in 1982 (shakes head in disbelief), and thought it might have some good advice regarding activities for little ones. After getting over my disappointment that it isn't a recipe book of gin based cocktails, I've had a little look, and it may be my new bible! Since the chucking Gina Ford's rag in the bin incident following Scarlett's birth, I haven't sought out any parenting books, asking people I know for advice instead. This book seems to focus practical advice about throwing parties, building toys and such, but also why children need to dress up and pretend to be someone else, or how they cope with something which is frightening.

 I love the fact that this book was first published in 1972, (and obviously the internet didn't exist then, so less distractions) however, the core way our children play and the importance of story time is a concept which has lasted. I'm looking forward to discovering what the book can teach me. Now that Scarlett has started reception,  I am interacting with a lot more parents. It's hard sometimes to stick to your parenting methods, now that they are starting to go to other people's houses for tea. We all have such different views on food, after school activities, TV and the abilities of our children. I'm fairly relaxed about certain things, but find it nerve racking if a stricter parent comes with their child, as though I may be judged. Funnily enough, the parents I've recently become friends with, or who I've been friends with for years have similar views to me.

I thought I might post extracts every now and then. Aesthetically I love this book as the illustrations are by Shirley Hughes, who wrote the 'Alfie' books. My Mum read these to me when I was little, and we read them with Scarlett now. The illustrations just transport me back to the 1980s, I always thought my Mum looked like Alfie's Mum, I think it was the perm!

The first chapter is Dressing Up and Let's Pretend.

 "The need to absorb experience through the senses
  Children can only learn through 'doing' and they need opportunities to learn through their eyes, noses, ears mouths, skin and muscles. All these memories are made stronger by the emotions that accompany them at the time of learning, such as pleasure, pain, fear, wonder or amusement."

"The need to discover what it feels like to be someone else
At this stage of play children still enjoy colour and texture, but their chief concern is to feel what it is not to be themselves but to be someone else. It seems as though children feel intuitively that if they dress up like a mother, and do the things she does, then they will feel what it is like to be a mother."

I like the way this book looks at play from the point of view of how the child feels, and looks at sensory experience within that

. I think as humans we never lose the need to discover what it feels like to be someone else, but maybe express it subconsciously as adults. Do we put on 'dressing up attire' when we apply make up, or show different sides of our personality at work to home or with friends to strangers. All coping mechanisms for life I guess!

I'm looking forward to reading more. Next time, the chapter 'ElectronicToys', Sub headings include 'Tape recorders', 'Records and record players' and 'Cassettes'. The technology is very different to now, but again, the concerns and views are reflected today. Tune in for the next installment.......

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Transformation Thursday-Dining Room Progress

Here's a look at the middle of our three, downstairs reception rooms. When we bought the house, all these rooms were wallpapered 1980s style. They were very dark, and were even more so when we first viewed the property. The previous owner had very dark furniture, which didn't help! There were 3 large, clad, gas fireplaces. We ripped these out immediately. The middle room also had a funny alcove which is now conveniently covered by a huge mirror. There were also some (dodgy DIY) lights, in between which we put the bookshelf. Having removed them, we've left this arrangement as it seems to work for the space.

 Upon taking the old carpet up, we found more parquet. This created a nice flow between the living and dining room. We've kept the folding doors for the moment, but always have them open. These rooms are beginning to come together now, though are still works in progress. The inside patio doors are not exactly aesthetically pleasing, but keep the cold out from extension, and will stay until renovation time. The vertical pipes aren't my favourite feature, but again will be removed in time.

The long term plan on this side of the house involves knocking the playroom down, and rebuilding with an extra room at the back, and on first floor. The Ikea shelving in the dining room brings together all our books, and some treasures. I thing the brightly coloured drawers are effective, and there are several to choose from. I love to seek out pieces by favourite fellow designer/makers, it's great knowing seriously talented people! Lots of finishing touches needed, but hopefully you'll agree, not bad for 8 weeks after moving.







Bookshelf , £75 and drawers, £18, Ikea
Cat rug, Achica
Alice In Wonderland Print, £39.99, Spineless Classics
Fox Cushion, Lettie Belle

Jumping Fox relief print, Hello Hello DODO

Monday, 11 November 2013

A Sunny Sunday

A little visit to Grandma and Grandpa's yesterday. The girls love to run through the enormous fruit and veg garden, check the chicken coop for eggs, harass the fish in the pond, and generally eat whatever they can! We came home with freshly picked brussel  sprouts (will be cooked up with shallots, lardons and butter), butternut squash, courgettes and grapes. We really are so lucky that they can see produce growing, pick and eat it whenever they like! I think it's great for kids to understand the origins of the food they eat.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Transformation Thursday; Under the (ugly) carpet.......

Having stripped the walls of the hallway, and repainted, next up was taking up the 1980's-esque dark red carpet. Upon first viewing the house, and knowing that one room had parquet floor, I asked the estate agent what was under the carpets downstairs. In his non-existent wisdom, he stamped on the floor and told me it was concrete. Fast forward a few weeks, and on our first day in the house we took up a corner of sitting room and hallway carpets....discovering original 1950's parquet flooring throughout! Although my husband isn't a huge fan of it, I was thrilled. It needs some restoration work, but is in good condition. Must be all those years under hideous carpets! We found lino glued to the parquet, which had to be chipped away, but luckily hadn't damaged it too much. Not the only 'crime against original features' in this house, by a long chalk! Next step in the hallway is putting up some prints and possibly a runner. The girls are big fans of the flooring, as it aids their speedy running action.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

New Rainbow Spot Garland!

Here's our new Rainbow Spot Garland, available now on the Lettie Belle website! It's a simple but effective way to brighten up any room instantly. The garland is 150cm long, and comprises of 30 (5cm diam) felt discs. We hope you like them!

Rainbow Spot Garland, £12, Lettie Belle

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Beautiful Prints From Beetroot Press

I fell in love with these prints as soon as I saw them. These delicate, nostalgic and hand drawn prints are created by British designer/maker Sarah Papworth for her Etsy shop, Beetroot Press. Sarah perfectly describes her work as 'contemporary and whimsical', and they are most certainly joyful! The horses will look great in our hallway, and the girls will be finding a personalised animal print in their Christmas stocking...but which to choose? Check out the Beetroot Press Etsy Shop for prints, cards and other treats.


Personalised Owl print, £25, Beetroot Press

Squirrel Print, £18.34, Beetroot Press

Rabbit Print, £17.44, Beetroot Press

'Chase your dreams with the wind in your hair' Print, £28.32 Beetroot Press