Sunday, September 27, 2009

small magazine's autumn 09 issue

small magazine presents a lovely online collection of the best art, photography, design, clothing, and general goodies for the little ones -- this jam-packed issue features the lovely art of Lisa Golightly (Kiki and Polly) and Isabelle Arsenault. You'd be mad not to check it out, here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

i was very honored and quite thrilled to be interviewed for Bonham Knightsbridge's Period Design catalog in August, and i absolutely loved looking through all the fabulous lots; it was difficult to chose just a few to discuss. i'm hoping there will be a sale while i'm in England in October . . . could be double dangerous! but, thanks, Charlie et al, especially Megs.  It was a delight to be the featured designer in August's Period Design!

for the little ones . . . fall edition

photo via anthropologie, owl available here
if you know her, you'll not be surprised that caroline MUST have this owl !

so, fall, for me, isn't just thoughts of mums, pumpkins, trick or treating, and on to the mad dash through turkey eating and on again to the holidays -- it's more fundamental, a response to the days drawing in and the chill in the air -- i find myself thinking of some of my favorite times from my childhood in Scotland; dark afternoons before Brownies meetings in the church crypt, the sing song chant of twenty little girls, "good evening Brown Owl, Good evening Tawny Owl, good evening, friend Brownie" our greeting to each other, - and the drive home for a "tea" of toasted cheese, thinking of carved turnips, not pumpkins, and the magic of enid blyton books and bonfire night ahead . . . maybe that's why i have a soft spot for owls . . . we actually have a big barn owl resident in our back garden; he sometimes comes near the driveway to "visit" our bunnies and eat their fallen food, much to their chagrin! So, in honor of and in hopes of a quieter, maybe simpler, more magical fall, here are a few of our new and old favorites, for the little ones ... 

 first, the eponymous british fairy stories by the eponymous british author, enid blyton, a trilogy, the enchanted wood, the faraway tree, and the folk of the faraway tree, available here 

photo courtesy

next, evocative and adorable art from favorite etsy artists kikiandpolly and creative thursday

photos courtesy creative thursday and kikiandpolly, all rights reserved

so perfect for children, and us, . . . and so sweet

and more etsy favorites~

photo courtesy girlsavage, all rights reserved
girlsavage's jaunty jackalope

photo courtesy feltmates, all rights reserved

feltmates friendly, fuzzy owl measuring tape (extra cute gift!)


photo courtesy isewlucky, all rights reserved
isewlucky's fab fabric owl, with dressmaker detailing


photo courtesy nyhop, all rghts reserved
nyhop's gentle-faced bunnies (you can request a portrait of your own bunny on a shirt -we'll be doing this with a portrait of our lovely little angus and rosie ~)

~so you see why we LOVE etsy~

and just one more etsy thing

photo courtesy fairyfolk, all rights reserved

woodland gnome in a snug little woodland home, from fairyfolk

~the fergusandme family wishes you magic this fall, and forever~

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Love anthro's retro modern cuckoo clocks -- bright, fun patterns and pom pom esque pendulum!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

angus and rosie

meet angus and rosie, our beloved bunnies, the sweetest, gentlest, most affectionate and darling pets that any family could have (except when they're chewing my laptop power cord, which they attempted to get away with -it wasn't plugged in- right after i snapped this butter-wouldn't-melt-in-our-mouths portrait!!) 

Anyway, we LOVE these bunnies (don't tell fergus!) 

So, we bet you're wondering what the point of this delightful ode to bunnies really is?? Well, it's a warm and fuzzy kind of how-to, a step by step description of one of our favorite fergusandme homemade wall art projects -- 
the ten by ten close up portrait on "canvas", cheap and cheerful edition.  here's how:

take a close up, or crop a shot of a favorite animal or child or part of said animal or child (i'm thinking tiny feet on a baby, a little hand curled around a big one, an impish smile that just reaches the sparkling eyes . . . you get the idea)~
use your favorite photo manipulation tool (around here, iPhoto) to save your chosen shot in sepia, or black and white, and be sure it works, as above, in a square format~
scurry off to your favorite almost-anachronistic camera store (around here, Wolf Camera) and have them print the shot as a ten by ten~
while said camera store is printing, and hopefully not losing, your photo, hop on over to your local art supply store (around here, Michael's) (hopefully with this week's 40% off one item coupon clutched in your hot little hand!) and buy a blocky (one inch deep) ten by ten artist's canvas (the thick kind)~
go pick up your stunning ten by ten close up print, then bring everything home. Hopefully your children will not have talked you into the infamous "bunch of junk", including those paint your own wooden thingys, that tends to come home here from the craft store.  Attach the print to the canvas with slightly watered down glue and a paintbrush~
and there you have it, a lovely, dimensional "canvas", by you.  Be Brave! Make multiples! You'll be surprised how marvelous your own shots can look, with just a little work, and a little know how ~

so that's it, our excuse for featuring our bunnies on the blog.

thanks for being so sweet, angus and rosie~

Saturday, September 19, 2009

the BEST wall stickers

photo via/courtesy chocovenyl, Helen Dardik

when you see wall stickers in Target (we love Target very much, but it's a behemoth, not exactly nimble and at the cutting edge of high design .. .), you know that this particular form of decorating has gone mainstream, become ubiquitous.  but the stickers themselves are wonderful, repositionable, removable, really fun. . . and there are some amazing examples out there. our current favorites are from chocovenyl, available here.

Chocovenyl features work from some of our favorite artists, including Helen Dardik, Jillian Phillips, Carolyn Gavin of Ecojot fame (check out her amazing blog!) -- you'll seem some of our favorites below -- so talented!

an even more exciting option is their custom work: chocovenyl will create fab, BIG repositionable fabric stickers from your high res photos, with amazing results; or, you can opt to have artist Helen Dardik incorporate your favorite family photos into original art, realized as those fabric stickers.  Amazing: see below! 





all above photos via/courtesy chocovenyl

Friday, September 18, 2009

saturdays at the farmers market

grab a gorgeous handful

summer will soon be a fond memory, but alongside the yummy fruits and veggies, breads and lowcountry shrimp, and plants and herbs at the close-by kings road and morehead farmers' market in charlotte, you'll find the stunning, locally grown flowers of two lovely ladies -- they have a wonderful eye for combinations of shape and color, and will happily put together a hand tied bouquet of your favorite color, or flower, or scent . . . such a beautiful, affordable extravagance, and available only into october  -- impossible hues and beauty, a celebration.

here are some more lovely flowers~


ikea's new birdy tray

elle decoration UK September featured this darling new (and cheap, cheep!) birdy tray designed by Susan Pryke. we really really love it, and really, really want it, but a fairly exhaustive search of the new ikea catalog and the various ikea websites has revealed not a feathery trace of this, the "baarbar" laminate tray.  we may be forced to actually GO to ikea tomorrow and check it out!  if we find it, we'll post right away, and twitter (which would be appropriate, i guess.)  if YOU find it, let us know!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

it's fall, that's all

so maybe it's the pumpkins we saw yesterday at Earthfare, or maybe it's the veritable deluge-through-the-mailslot of shiny, happy catalogs bearing all manner of costumes, decorations, and other goodies, but talk around the dinner table here at the fergusandme household had a definite halloween slant last night . . . since we're trying to go handmade or recycled this year, we thought we'd share our fave Etsy halloween finds, so we've replaced our shop feed (more fun that way!) Hope all of this gets you in the spirit!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

be gentle

thought for tomorrow~
be gentle, we're very young

When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three,
I was hardly Me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.
copyright 1927 a.a.milne "now we are six"

ready, set, create your own fabric at

okay, so maybe our guy here isn't the most beautiful boy in the barnyard . . .teeny head, floppy wrinkles, beady eyes  -- hmm-- . . . but we kinda liked him (enough at least to snap this photo on our trip to a rather idyllic Vermont farmyard last summer)    BUT, can't you see him gracing a totally cool, totally one of a kind throw pillow, say, or maybe a tablecloth, repeated over and over in all his splendid cockereliness?? Why YES! absolutely! We WILL embrace the current fad for realistic animal photography printed fabric, especially if it features an animal that we thought was funny enough to photograph (even without an accompanying child!)   So, over to our home state (lovely north carolina), where nice people will help you use their friendly website to design and print your own fab fabrics!  They even have upholstery weights, in case you decide a cockerel wing chair is just what you're after!! LOVE it, genius idea, can't wait to try it!
p.s. we thought you'd like to know that spoonflower seems to be pleasantly affordable :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

i miss you, followers! where are you?? blogger is trying to find you, apparently . . . 

vintage-y storage for kiddie collections

inveterate collectors, take note.  
Next time you're thrifting, or estate sale shopping, or out at the flea market, pick up a few of those old, sorta beat up, possibly painted, drawer organizers that we all see from time to time.  Use little nails right through some of the sturdy wood to attach them firmly to the wall, and arrange, or, if you're me, let your kiddies arrange, collections to their hearts content.  I love this idea, because previously I just used to set these things up on windowsills, but breakages tended to occur. This is just a bit more "away", and it seems to work well.
These collections are, from top, Wade Whimsys, just like the ones I collected out of tea packets and I think cereal boxes when I was little in Scotland.  Caroline has a big collection thanks to her treasure hunting grandma who lives in England, and to our English neighbor who very kindly gives us the ones she finds in her Red Rose tea packets of today.  You can find these charming little ceramics at flea markets for a few dollars each.  The middle box has lots of vintage Scottish terriers, like Fergus.  The bottom one has a collection of quirky primitive painted Spanish figures of unknown origin -- but we liked them! 
These work really well for collections of matchbox cars, trains, acorns, shells, rocks, fossils, interesting pieces of wood -- all of which I think we've used them for.  It's a way to add fun and spirit and personality to boring spaces, like here, where we hung them in dead space in the laundry room bath where we wash the dog. And let your kids arrange them -- they will love it.

treasures found

Here's Caroline on Saturday with a sampling of her favorite estate sale find of the day.  She was thrilled to find shop cards full of vintage early 1970s sunglasses, some mirrored, some not, some with bugs bunny, some even made in Italy . . . she's going to put them on our etsy shop, which I'm glad about, since I think there are about 50 pairs.  Her big brothers and little brother quickly claimed a few, though.  The teen boy verdict: cool! Looks like those ones we've been buying in Nordstrom all summer!  The little boy verdict: can I take the lenses out?  Can I have one for my bear? My verdict: sweet memories - as soon as I saw that card with bright and cartoon festooned kiddie sunglasses, I felt like a little kid again, begging my mom and dad for a pair . . .  

Saturday, September 12, 2009

san francisco, candyland

if you're like us and you love the candy colors of Candyland and the painted ladies (houses, we mean!) of San Francisco, then you'll appreciate this montage that we found over on The International Chapter of the Junior Society
you'll recognize Lombard Street, the "crookedest street in the world" all decked out as a life size Candyland to the delight of a bunch of happy, happy kids; sadly, over now, but it tickled us pink, and yellow, and blue, and all those other candy colors~
photo courtesy of the International Chapter of the Junior Society


Friday, September 11, 2009

first day of the last year of preschool

fifteen years ago (unbelievable), our first child started preschool, and we took posed photos with a 35mm camera (that we still like to use) . . . the other day, our eager little one headed off to his first day, of the last year . . . end of the beginning, i guess.  but hey, thanks iPhone for making this easy (he didn't even realize) . . .

jonathan adler goes all bertoia on us

jonathan adler's strong-but-sweet, fun sensibility is reflected in this Bertoia-inspired wicker chair from the Shelter collection -- it's a cool juxtaposition of vintage and modern, a wonderful interpretation of a modern wire and metal icon in wicker, a softer, cheerfully retro material. And the orange upholstery provides just the right color blast ~~ love it.
(photo courtesy of

Monday, September 7, 2009

oilcloth, our take

life in the fergusandme family is a swirling hurly burly of craft projects, icing cupcakes, painting random pieces of furniture, and slurping spaghetti hoops (teds!), and to counteract all that mess, we have become devotees of oilcloth, in its many prints and patterns. To say that it is a life saver around here would be putting it mildly, to be honest.  we generally get ours from John Lewis in the U.K., dragging back duffels loaded with yards and yards of it, but oilcloth is becoming more popular and accessible in the United States, perhaps because of trend toward sustainability, reusability, and vintage chic. Or maybe it's just the ubiquity (and i mean that in a positive way) of Cath Kidston's design ethos. We've used oilcloth to cover kitchen chairs, create wall panels in kids' rooms, upholster entire walls (it's easy to do as the fabric has a heft that others don't), and, of course, protect our Crate & Barrel Big Sur kitchen table, which we love, from the aforementioned paint, glue, glitter, and spaghetti hoops.
(photo courtesy of

here are some more oilcloth sources and ideas ~

thanks to bowiestyle over at for this note about John Lewis's "apples" oilcloth ~
(photo courtesy of bowiestyle) 

check out for lots of fun prints, like these ~ (thanks to Lisa and her excellent site for this link, also check out the amazing bag she made using oilcloth -- we've never been this adventurous!)
(photo courtesy of u-handbag)

there are lots of lovely Marimekko oilcloth options at, like these ~
(photos courtesy of

and, we can't forget the lovely offerings at
(photo courtesy of pedlars)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

fairy cakes

fairy cakes, not just for fairies

we had a birthday celebration yesterday, and as usual, time was short, so we made our favorite fairy cakes (thanks, Nigella!) (check out Nigella Lawson's cookbook, how to be a domestic goddess, chock full of british standards and yummy stuff . . . available here
the absolute best baking book ever~

fairy cakes (a british birthday tea standard)

one half cup unsalted butter, softened
7 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
three quarters of a cup self rising cake flour
one half teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk

preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit
put all the ingredients except the milk in a food processor and blitz until smooth, then pulse while adding milk through the funnel until you have a soft, dropping consistency
pour as evenly as possible into 12 cupcake cups; feel free to double or triple the recipe
bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fairy cakes are cooked and golden on top
(we have substituted unsweetened soymilk with excellent results)

it is really fun, though very messy, to set up loads of bowls of icing (confectioner's) sugar for children to mix with a little water and a very little food coloring -- use the kind that comes in packs of twelve, like these rather than the boring primary color kind available at the grocery, and go really slow and scanty with the color ~ then, decorate with whatever sprinkles and other doodads you prefer ~ yum

Saturday, September 5, 2009

hooray! now we're linked to fergusandme on Etsy

our fergusandme blog is now seemlessly linked to fergusandme on Etsy. wow. the wonders of modern life. check it out to your right . . . and, if you're in the above logo, and you know who you are, congrats, you're famous!

Friday, September 4, 2009

yerra lambswool stools

these new Matero lambswool stools from Argentinian wholesaler Yerra are delicious -- so snuggly in an organic kind of way . . . natural wood and fuzzy wool, a yummy combination.

perfect paper party lighting

isn't this amazing -- i'm guessing they used the ubiquitous

paper globe and stuck cocktail umbrellas in it . . . paper party deco supremo.