THE HAPPY SHOPPING FILES: HANDMADE IN BLACK & WHITE

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I love all things handmade & unique and I try to avoid shopping at large stores selling mass produced items. For this reason Etsy has been one of my favorite websites for years now and I spend a large amount of time browsing Etsy stores and sellers. So why not turn the beautiful things I find (on Etsy and in other stores) into a regular item here on this blog? Today I share some “black & white finds” with you. Above: set of two hand made ceramic plates.

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Hand spun African mud cloth

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Set of ceramic tumblers

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MOROCCAN KILIM FLOOR CUSHIONS

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A Moroccan floor cushion made of a vintage kilim is a great accessory as it gives a lovely bohemian chic touch to your interior. I have several in my home and we use them as extra seats when having guests. But also my son loves them for building a fort and and our dog Lola thinks that the cushions are dog beds. So the cushions are very versatile!

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Similar poufs as the ones above are available from Etsy shops Moroccan Tribal and Nice Leather Poufs.

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THE TRAVEL FILES: A HOLIDAY HOME ON ANTIPAROS

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Villa Tea is a beautiful holiday villa located on the Greek island of Antiparos. The house is a contemporary take on the typical Cycladic form, modern with hints of characteristic features of Cycladic architecture. The interior is decorated in a colour palette of earthy tones, while touches of vivid colours are found in the ethnic killim rugs, cushions and blankets.The stone floor inside and out create a sense of continuity between the two spaces and connect the house with the landscape. This south facing house is surrounded by beautiful views. In front there is the deep blue sea, while the peaceful rural landscape surrounds the rest of the house. The spacious villa is available for holiday rentals. With 5 double bedrooms the house is suitable for 8-10 people. Villa Tea has plenty of stunning outdoor areas to entertain and relax any time of day as most are shaded and protected from the sun and wind. Not to forget, the villa’s peaceful surroundings are ideal for night time star gazing. You can find more information about renting this lovely home here on this website.

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THE TRAVEL FILES: OUR FAMILY HOLIDAY ON CRETE

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I am busy organizing our holidays for this year. But it’s always difficult to find a holiday destination that we all like. My 5-year old son wants a pool, a beach and kids to play with. My husband needs some luxury and I want accommodation that has the right feel, good food and warm weather. It ain’t easy to find the perfect family holiday.. (what are your favorite places by the way??). We have found some lovely places over the years but we try to find a new one every year. Two years ago we spent a wonderful vacation on Crete in Greece, which is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, and it is the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. We stayed at Villa Ippocampi which is a small, family-friendly hotel near Crete’s north coast. The hotel, situated in the hillside village of Koutouloufari, is family owned and operated. The hospitality and familial atmosphere created by Greek/Dutch couple Nikos & Lydia and their wonderful staff, plus the lovely pool and garden make it the perfect place for a laid back family holiday. The white Cycladic-style building offers 13 simple but stylish suites of various sizes, each with a small kitchen. We stayed in a three room apartment (there are only two of these available) and we were very happy with our choice. We especially enjoyed the ground floor patio with sea view where we had breakfast every morning.

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A STUNNING MODERN HOME IN ST. KILDA, MELBOURNE

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This distinctive house, located in the Melbourne neighborhood of St. Kilda, was purchased for its Spanish mission qualities, heavy masonry arches, and timber and wrought iron detailing. The new owner, a passionate builder and craftsman, engaged Meme to re-plan and update the interior for a more relaxed family lifestyle. Meme is an Interior Design & Architecture Practice based in Melbourne, Australia. The insertion of new steel-framed windows and doors help to connect, open up rooms and also function to framing views through to the garden. When shut, they enclose the rooms to create warm, intimate spaces. The warmth of the house is amplified through the use of inherent materials; a selection of fine black steel detailing, polished plaster walls, handmade Sicilian clay hexagonal floor and wall tiles. The floor, internal doors and joinery are custom designed and manufactured from solid American oak. Robust and enduring details define the tactile elements of the design and maintain the essence and original character of the house. My favorite feature of this house is the wooden kitchen which is very well made and absolutely beautiful!

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THE STORY BEHIND: THE TRADITIONAL SWEDISH TILE STOVE

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You might have seen a tile stove in one of the Swedish houses featured on this blog. These traditional stoves, which are called kakelugn stoves, date back to the eighteenth century. The Kakelugn stove’s was invented when a shortage of wood became a crisis. The winters were colder than normal, and the people at this time needed to get as much heat out of the wood as possible. The problem was that too much wood was being consumed, and the government needed to intervene before the forestry was used up. Carl Johan Cronstedt and Fabian Wrede, had received a government mandate to try to find more fuel efficient solutions, and ended up inventing a fuel efficient tiled stove which burned the wood slower, and retained the heat for hours. Modernized version of the Kakelugnar stoves are being produced by Swedish Camina. Lindholm Kakelugnar also sells stoves in their original design and they have a selection of stoves manufactured from the 1860s to the 1920s.

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Image source: Stadshem.

SUMMER DRESSES IN A PERFECT SHADE OF BLUE

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These cotton gauze summer dresses by NY label Alasdair have the perfect shade of blue! The twist front dress with elastic waistband and open front can be worn as a dress or a tunic.

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