Friday, 6 May 2016

Modern Retro!

Whether you call it retro or vintage the reality is that the hunger for it shows no signs of dissipating!
Our love for the unusual, designer made and stylish is something we find is becoming more of a norm as home owners all over the world are swamped by Modern Retro Fever. And it's addictive! 

Published by Jaqui Small this brand new title by Caroline Clifton Mogg is one I've enjoyed reviewing immensely! I too am one of those swamped by the big love for quirky vintage living!
Though it's not a new kind of love it's one which has been maturing and growing along the years. A bit like the general public's appetite for it!
I have quite a few pieces of everyday furniture which are just fit for purpose but... there are also a few key statement pieces I've been collecting throughout the years.
But finding the right comprehensive look can be hugely daunting but equally thrilling! Knowing how things fit together, well that's an art form...

Mixing the modern retro with objet trouvé is something that requires a little practise as well as an understanding of how each element works best singularly but ultimately as an entire look!

Having the eye and the ease to mix styles is nothing short of alchemy, though with this title at your side you too can create a magical and inspiring place filled with all kinds of gems!

But this is not just a book about admiring or valuing twentieth-century design. Far from being a catalogue this book is about how to make this wonderful style work in a contemporary home.

I like the way it's divided into sections according to styles under the Retro Styling banner, exploring different interpretations which will surely suit all types of tastes. Classic Mode, Rustic Reclamation, Structural Industrial, Colourful, Eclectic. In all I found elements I loved and thought I could re-create in my own vintage lovers home.
Knowing where things go, and how things respond to each other in a scheme has always been an integral part of successful interior design, and it is even more important when it comes to creating an interior that is a mixture of the expected and the unexpected.
And that's where Caroline Clifton Mogg's expertise and talent becomes clearly apparent.

This book showcases all the different elements, from chairs to mirrors, from lighting to textiles and also  Room by Room which looks at every part of the retro home providing an array of gorgeous and inspiring decorative ideas.

Modern Retro shows how to combine, how to edit and how to put the unlikely and the unusual together to make your home a modern retro masterpiece. And may I add that it won't be like living in a museum either... it's about building a livable home with imagination and heart!

To order Modern Retro at the discounted price of £24 including p&p* (RRP: £30), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code QPG428.
*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

In that yawning gap between the antique and the new, there is something else. Some call it vintage, some retro, but whatever the name the concept is the same – the objects and furniture that are not quite old and not quite new, but are always original and unique. Modern Retro looks at this fascinating area of design and decoration. The arrangement of rooms – where to put what – has always been a vital part of successful interior decoration, and it is even more important when it comes to creating an interior that is a mixture of the expected and the completely unexpected. It is an art and it requires a real skill, for there has to be respect for every objet trouvé, as well as an understanding of how each element will work best. Modern Retro shows how to combine, how to edit and how to put the unlikely and the unusual together in a sympathetic way. Inspiration and ideas occupy every page of this absorbing book. 
- See more at:
In that yawning gap between the antique and the new, there is something else. Some call it vintage, some retro, but whatever the name the concept is the same – the objects and furniture that are not quite old and not quite new, but are always original and unique. Modern Retro looks at this fascinating area of design and decoration. The arrangement of rooms – where to put what – has always been a vital part of successful interior decoration, and it is even more important when it comes to creating an interior that is a mixture of the expected and the completely unexpected. It is an art and it requires a real skill, for there has to be respect for every objet trouvé, as well as an understanding of how each element will work best. Modern Retro shows how to combine, how to edit and how to put the unlikely and the unusual together in a sympathetic way. Inspiration and ideas occupy every page of this absorbing book. 
- See more at:

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Charity Crafternoon! Saturday 14th of May.... be there or be a granny square!

We've teamed up wit the legendary knitwear designer Debbie Bliss and event queen extraordinaire Sliz Gillard to host an amazing charity event in aid of the Refugee Community Kitchen!
This army of volunteer chefs have taken it into their own hands to feed up to 2000 people a day in the Northern French camps! Serving food from an old battered food van these amazing men and women have stepped up where our governments have failed!
Not content with serving gruel this troop has taken it on them selves to serve good, nutritious tasty food for their fellow men (and women!) to show that food is more then just sustenance but also about breaking down barriers and showing love and respect for others.

Keep your diary free and come on down to Walthamstow Village , Saturday 14th of May from 1 - 5 PM.
£4 entry which includes free yarn and knitting needles. 

We were so moved by this project and the people behind it... hearing stories from one chef in particular, Chris Gillard, who was there volunteering made us want to do something more then just be sad or worried about it... yeah, you know what it's like... so many horror stories that it's hard not to get world crisis fatigue and just curl up in a ball so we've decide that enough was enough and that action was needed so we came together to organise something which we hope you'd also like to be a part of.

You can book your tickets here or donate whatever you can via this Evenbrite© link:
Eventbrite - Charity Crafternoon!

If you can't make it on the day...
Use the hash tag #Knit4RCK to join in on twitter! If you'd also like to organise your own Charity Crafternoon on the 14th get in touch as we'd love to link up and make it global!!!
But if you'd like to contribute on an individual level then don't worry either...
More info will be available soon for any of you that would like to knit squares for our blankets.
We're asking knitters (or crocheters) for 10cm X 10cm squares which you can then send in for our volunteers to sew up into blankets to then be taken to the camps in Europe or where ever they are needed!

So on the 14th of May join us for an all signing all making Crafternoon!
But it's not all about the knit... even though we'll be working on blanket squares to make much needed bedding we'll also have a Tea and Cake Bar, a fully licensed bar, a crafty tombola (win hand made prizes!), live music  from the Stowicks and even a beat box workshop From Tim "Wireless" Coles for the kiddos!

It's all about being thankful, coming together and bringing awareness to one of our lifetime's greatest humanitarian crises and feeling like we're actually doing something  proactive like raising funds to help the amazing super human people who are on the ground making life a little bit easier for others who've already been through so much.

And don't forget even if you're not in London don't worry as we'll be live on periscope (look for Craft Guerrilla)... so please do join us at the #Knit4RCK Charity Crafternoon event and lets make for change!!!

We'd love to hear from any designer makers who'd like to donate a prize for the tombola too so... email us for further details please.

Debbie Daniel & Debbie Bliss

Friday, 15 April 2016

Frida Kahlo, life portraits.

This lovely new title from Frances Lincoln will delight all Frida fans and captivate any newbies to the work of one of Mexico's greatest artists!
I'm looking forward to re-reading this after the Easter break and decorating some more chocolate eggs* with Frida Kahlo inspired folk art! Hey, don't judge, chocolate eggs can be eaten all the time regardless of holiday!
*note: see our post featuring Easter Break ideas to keep creative minds & hands busy!

Written by Zena Alkayat  this sweet little biography follows Frida Kahlo’s exceptional life and work celebrating the Mexican icon’s immense legacy through beautifully illustrated works by Nina Cosford.

From a young age, Kahlo forged her own path to become a timeless international icon which so many still follow to the day!

I for one have been a Frida fan for as long as I can remember. Her artwork has touched many and still continues to inspire artists and creatives all over the world! Her history is peppered with tragedy, sadness, romance, happiness and pure and utter brilliance plus a healthy dose of style too.
The illustrations in this book help us understand her life and her "being" through gorgeous and quirky illustrations featuring key life chapters.

In this book we look at her life from overcoming polio as a child, and bravely battling the after-effects of a tragic road accident that left her with lifelong injuries.

This book traces her relationship with Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, her success as an artist, her many love affairs and her inspirations and influences.
Her art, her political stances and philosophy show a woman with her own mind, own ideals with a very creative and imaginative and resourceful mind too!

Frida Kahlo follows on from equally evocative illustrated biographies of twentieth-century literary giant Virginia Woolf, French fashion legend Coco Chanel, and one of literature’s most loved authors, Jane Austen.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Easter makes with Frida... keeping creative hands and minds busy during the break!

Here's our top tips of things to make, drink, eat and do during the Easter break inspired by the life and art of Frida Kahlo!

"Why Frida Kahlo?" you ask? Well my response is "Why not?!" as she is after all one of my favourite artists and people who has ever walked the earth!

I'm not one to celebrate Easter in the traditional sense but I do love the more pagan based rituals of welcoming in Spring so here are a few projects which I hope you'll be making too regardless of your views on Easter.
It is after all  a holiday about rebirth so lets welcome the new season with a crafty celebration! It's definitely needed after the long dark winter we've had where everything seemed to be suspending in its sleepy grip...
And Frida Kahlo's work touches a lot on the ideas of birth, spirituality, the renewal of traditions and the celebration of popular culture plus her bright and eclectic sense of style always reminds me of spring.
Must be all the flowers, the folk designed embroidery and colourful fabrics she wore!

And on a side note it is totally alright to eat your own weight in chocolate during Easter break! You see Easter calories are empty calories but only on this particular holiday - I promise!- so eat up... I'm sure Frida would certainly agree, after all she was a lover of pleasure!

• Make some Frida-tastic Easter eggs!

image ©

We love these! Just the right amount of kitsch... well can you ever have too much kitsch? Ha, probably not but these are really lovely and stylish!
For a complete tutorial on how to make these visit Little Inspiration!

• Make a flower Head Band!


This amazing and great tutorial will show you how to achieve one of Frida's signature looks. Anyone can make this and we love the easy to follow step by step instructions!
Flower head bands in our opinion should be worn at all times even as Frida did in bed though she was painting and not snoozing! But hey, we're making one to go with our jim jams...
Thank you My Poppet Makes!

• Read something inspiring!

Reading these days seems like such a luxury, there never seems to be enough time in the day to sit down and read an entire book so this illustrated book written by Zena by Zena Alkayat and illustrated by Nina Cosford is the perfect easy read to get you inspired!
Frida Kahlo, Life Portraits is part of a wider collection including Coco Chanel and Jane Austen!
Read our review* which will be posted here very soon!
*Includes a special CG blog reader discount code!

• Paint some eggs!


I'm loving these but I think I'm going to try this tutorial with white chocolate dipped eggs and food colouring instead!
We need more chocolate in our lives so yeah... lets definitely thy this technique with chocolate eggs too!
I just love the colourful, happy and loose brush strokes on these. They do remind me of Mexico and all the vibrant colours in their folk art. I might even throw in some edible paste flowers onto them just to add an extra layer of kitsch!

• Welcome the new season with a new hairstyle!


Learn to make Maiden Braids to create your very own Kahlo inspired up-do! I wish I hadn't chopped off my long locks but it was time to go shorter... but remember you can also use hair extensions to get the look!
Tutorial via a beautiful mess here!


• Toast to a long weekend with a cocktail or two!

Spiced Passion photo credit ©
As the days grow longer and we find ourselves out socialising more there's nothing like a great little cocktail to help kick back featuring tequila another great Mexican export!
I can imagine that though Frida was mostly bed bound that she loved parties so lets clink our glasses to Frida Kahlo!
Here you'll find a few recipes which aren't Margaritas  here!
*P.S. Remember to drink responsibly!


• Find 50 Fridas!


Finding 50 Fridas is the latest exhibition at the The East End Prints Shop. Exhibiting 50 of the very best portraits of Frida Kahlo by a selection of artists.
See works including drawings, mosaic, street art, painting, printing and all other mediums!

• Head East, to North East London that is!

As a lover of bright and shiny things we love God's Own Junkyard in Walthamstow and we think Frida would have loved it there too!
Plus there are a few other treats at the same industrial estate including Mother's Ruin Gin Palace and the Wild Card Brewery.

• Listen to music!

It's a well known fact that Frida loved Mariachi bands so here's Mariachi El Bronx's a modern and fun take on a much loved traditional!
We love them and have been bopping away in maison Craft Guerrilla! Or should that be la Casita Craft Guerrilla?!


• And finally... Eat Chocolate cake! 


I love this recipe from the good people of Waitrose... looks fairly easy and it's chocolate so well worth making to celebrate Easter!
And thanks again to Mexico for giving us chocolate, those Mayans were really clever folk!
You can find the recipe here!

So whatever you're doing, don't forget to take time out and relax a little bit too... but if you're anything like me you'll be getting cabin fever after the first day off so a little creativity can be the perfect solution to helping you through the long Easter bank holiday! Don't forget to share your crafty makes Instagram... tag us @craftguerrilla and add the hastag: #EasterIsForCrafting


Thursday, 11 February 2016

Happy Home Outside!

I've been a huge fan of the homewares company RICE Denmark for quite some time now.
I was so excited to hear that fresh from the success of her first interiors book Happy Home Charlotte Hedeman Guéniau; the founder and designer behind RICE Denmark; has taken her famous signature style and given us yet another treat to delve into! Or should that be "to delve out to"?

Happy Home Outside is officially released on the18th of February -just in time to see Spring come into bloom!- and is published by Jacqui Small. 
In this chunky hard back you'll find all sorts of easy to reproduce signature looks from amazingly simple but effective party decoration ideas, a few craft tutorials to even a couple of food recipes to help you get in the outdoor living mood.

I love Charlotte's eye for mixing the classic with the quirky and vintage objects with new modern pieces. OK that may not sound like anything new but what comes across is the genuine passion and design flair which Charlotte effortlessly weaves into everything she touches. And that is an art which can not be faked!
I'm so happy to have had the chance to preview it as I haven't stopped smiling since I first clapped eyes on it.
This new book is refreshingly and unashamedly an assault on the senses... You could describe it as technicolour riot on the home front!!!
So if you're not a fan of bright and cheerful living then look away now...

Danish-born CHARLOTTE HEDEMAN GUÉNIAU founded RICE in 1998. Charlotte and her French husband Phillippe wanted to change their lives, having lived and worked in Paris for 15 years, so moved to Odense, Denmark and founded their ethical homewares empire. Now, RICE Denmark has a lovely office and showroom in an old shipyard building near the waterfront in Odense. The company employs 75 people internationally, and creates influential homeware collections that are ethically sourced and produced all over the world. RICE products can be found in the smartest stores worldwide - See more at:

As a city dweller I find any outside space a bonus so making it look as good as it potentially can be is key and with Charlotte's guiding hand you'll be able to transform any space into your own private oasis.
Whether you are lucky to have a full on garden  or just a veranda, a small balcony or even a window box... what you come away with from reading this book is the sense that any outdoor space can be more then just a spot to park your bike or leave your muddy boots in.
An outdoor space should be an extension of your living home so... get out there and make it work for you!
And it shall do so for me as after 20 years of living in a flat without an outdoor space it looks like that's about to change very soon.
Though you wouldn't tell by looking at me but I absolutely love bright colours... so I will be using this book as inspiration to make my garden into a fun, welcoming, vibrant and relaxing area to enjoy.

Though it won't be all about relaxing, it'll also be about living!
I'm already planning my first summer party and all I can say is that I've just spotted a few old tulip shaped lampshades in the charity shop and that I'm going to transform them into outdoor party chandeliers. I can't wait!
Colour and a sense of fun are central to the RICE philosophy and I admire that they take due care to source their products from sustainable and ethical producers too so it's not just about the "look" but there's also a heart behind it all!


From the front cover to the last pages you are treated to a mesmerising load of cheery offerings...  from sunny vintage caravans, bright beautiful linen awnings to heady secret garden hideaways. So all you bright hue haters listen up...
"If  bright colours bring happiness to our world then surely that can't be a bad thing!"

And that's the motto I'm sticking to from now on.

To order Happy Home Outside at the discounted price of £20 including p&p* (RRP: £25), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code QPG409.*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Taste, the infographic book of food!

If I had to give an award for the cutest book of the year this title by food writer and author Laura Rowe would take the prize! But it's not just about the cute, it's actually quite beautiful, stylish and informative too. And the Illustrations by Vicki Turner are simply delicious!

But you know... it's not all about the looks, it's also an exciting exploration into the complex and colourful world of food!
You see, I actually love knowing about the inspiration and origins behind certain foods and recipes so I literally didn't put down this book until I read it cover to cover!

Taste, The Infographic Book of Food is not just for the eyes but also a feast for the belly as it's packed with recipes and tasty food facts!
I also found it to be a really emotive book as I got the sense that the author is genuinely passionate about the subject.

*If you'd like to know more about the author, she is also the editor of Olive magazine:

Packed with amazing facts and tips including a simple how to roll sushi tutorial this book also offers  readers weird and wonderful food factoids, great recipes plus a very handy weights and measurement conversion chart.
There's even a few cocktail recipes that'll get your party guests talking, a guide to Fizz, a comprehensible table setting layout and a seasonal eating calendar. And can I just say that I am quite excited about finding what flavours and notes I can find in a glass of Champers! Ha, any excuse, right?!

Published by Aurum Press "Taste, The Infographic Book of Food" is a book I'm sure most foodies will love but it will also delight art lovers and the knowledge hungry gourmands!!!
Historians, chefs and the curious will definitely love this title and consuming it in its entirety will be a joyful snack rather then a heavy laborious meal... and I can bet you'll be back for more,
just like those repeat visits to that cookie jar in search of yummy bite sized literary tidbits.

I found myself totally immersed and whilst in the middle of cooking my dinner I couldn't help but to reach for my copy -again!- just to check what it said about my chosen ingredients. This gave me immense pleasure learning about beets and courgettes but I also lingered a bit too long so I managed a slightly burnt pot too...
Hum, I never knew Beetroot had a wild sea variety which you can still find on many European coastlines. Next time I'm down the coast I shall have a good old forage!

But it's not merely a facts and figures book nor a collection of recipe index cards thrown together, each section is divided nicely and neatly into easy to find chapters which veer into different food related tangents.
Some of these are:
From the plot, Off the farm to Any other business which covers - as the chapter title aptly describes- all other food related stuff like an explanation of the five taste groups and a knife guide.
So no more muddling your fish knife with your steak knife!

So if you love food, pie charts and graphs all gorgeously illustrated, a sprinkling of history, info packed factoids plus a recipe or two thrown in for good measure then this book is perfect for you! It truly is a tasteful title, you could say it's the modern food bible for stylish food lovers. Bon appetit!

I'm keeping my copy close...

Order Taste at a special price available only to our blog readers: 
 The Infographic Book of Food at the discounted price of £16 including p&p* (RRP: £20), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code APG392. 
*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.