Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Insect Attraction

A variety of themes are delved into to decorate the home, but if there’s one that pops up time and again, it’s the Natural World.

With a bounty of flora and fauna out there to inspire us, it’s little wonder really. Take for example teeny-tiny insects; while they do of course have a creepy crawly side, there’s also a curious beauty to them.

This is something that artist’s Rory Dobner, Roo Abrook and Matrushka know only too well; portraying the prettiness of bugs, beetles and bees in their decorative pieces that bring a little of the outside, in.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Stuffed Butternut Squash

We’re on the cusp, perched right in-between seasons - is it winter? is it spring? Well, while the weather can’t quite decide what it’s doing from one day to the next, we’ve been busy in the kitchen roasting up a mouth-watering Stuffed Butternut Squash recipe (which we then swiftly followed by baking not one, but two loafs of Banana Bread, yum!). 

If you’ve a bit of time to spare, we whole-heartedly recommend trying out the squash - not only is it delicious, but you can also vary the veg and use up whatever you have in the fridge. Just remember to add things like mushrooms to the roasting tray a little later so as to get the best out of them.

What you’ll need (use the whole squash to feed four)...

1 large Butternut Squash (de-seeded)
Your choice of veggies - we used...
1 courgette, chopped roughly
1 red onion, chopped roughly
1 red pepper, chopped roughly
1 large handful of mushrooms, chopped roughly
As many garlic cloves (whole) as you like
Grated mozzarella

What you need to do...
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
2, Cut the butternut in half lengthways, drizzle in oil and roast for about 30 mins.
3. Add the veggies to your roasting tray, drizzle in oil and roast for about 30-40 mins.
4. When the butternut is ready (and the veggies, too), scoop out the flesh, mix it with the veggies and stuff the skin of the butternut with your scrummy veggie mix. 
5. Top with a good sprinkling of mozzarella and roast until the cheese browns and melts.
6. Divide the squash into portions and serve with a cherry-tomato salad. Enjoy.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Roo Abrook: Queen of Collecting

Roo Abrook is somewhat of a magpie. The British artist loves nothing more than to collect all manner of papery things – vintage and antique books (her favourite), sheet music, and lots of other objects that are in time, inspire her signature natural world collages and prints. We caught up with Roo to find out how she came to doing what she does – read on for more… 

When and why did you decide to be an artist?
I started out with a foundation course at art college, with no particular plans, which led to a degree in fine art printmaking. I then went on to run a fashion company and then work as a graphic designer. I guess I love designing in many different areas.

What are you main creative influences?
All sorts of things; from vintage finds, to Peter Blake, to retro TV shows and annuals, to museum pieces and exhibitions. Everything I grew up with and have seen since all kinda jumbled up and somehow pulled out and pulled together.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
At the moment I am inspired by antique books and nature.

Who is your favourite designer?  What aspect of their work do you most admire?
I don't really have a favourite – there are so many clever people!

What aspect of your work gives you the most pleasure?
Designing and making.

Where are you most creative?
At home, probably when I'm doing something quite ordinary around the house.


What is your studio like? 
A jumble of book, books and more books combined with vintage finds.

How do you describe your style? 

What are you currently working on?
New designs for next year and a year-long project with Anglepoise lamps called Creating Balance.

What advice do you have for other designers starting out?
Keep at it!

How do you achieve a work/life balance?
I'm really strict... family comes first, though I suppose I'm still working in a way a lot of the time; ideas are always bubbling away.

What are you other passions?  
Music. I absolutely love it, and reading books.

What is your favourite food?
Anyone else's cooking… not mine!

What is your greatest weakness?
Trying to do too much in too little time… my time management is terrible.

Trousers or skirts? 
Black skinnies – they’re so comfy and practical and go with everything.

A selection of Roo Abrook's prints are now available online from £9.00 each.