Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Inspiration: Amy Butler

Ah, what a beautiful summery day - and what better way to depict this than with the wonderfully summery Amy Butler fabrics. The colours... well just take a look! Anything Amy Butler makes me want to skip & laugh and clutch a handful of those delicious fabrics to my bosom whilst spinning around on a mountain top a la Maria von Trapp. In fact many of her designs do remind me of the curtain fabric Maria used to make clothes for the von Trapp children in The Sound of Music - but in a super good way of course!

I first stumbled across her fabrics at The Sewing for Pleasure exhibition a couple of years ago (it could have been The Knitting & Stitching Show, I forget now). I was choosing a very cute piece of fabric with cool Japanese-style baa-lambs on for a -never started- project for my then unborn niece. There was a multi buy deal on that stand (yep I'm a sucker for them!) and so in order to make up the quantity I found myself drawn towards these amazingly graphic florals in eye popping colour combinations.

It was a little bit of a fabric epiphany - all of a sudden my eyes were open to the magical world of Amy Butler fabrics! And what a world of colour & pattern it is. She & her husband David have run the successful fabric design studio Art of the Midwest in Ohio for many years and regularly contributed articles in Country Living magazine, as well as co-authoring several design style books.

But aside from the talent that makes the fabric collections such a global success & the good-enough-to-eat photos, I think that it is the lifestyle they portray that has me so hooked. Through their images it looks to me that in Amy Butler Land there is never a dull grey day, never a cross word & never a reason not to be totally surrounded by drop-dead-gorgeous fabrics (ok, so that last one might not appeal to everyone... but stay with me here!) I guess what I'm getting at is that Amy Butler fabrics make me feel happy & positive. They also make me want to spend an awful lot of money & do an awful lot of sewing!

To see what I mean check out this video from their recent photo-shoot. I love behind the scenes peeks of other creatives at work and it is so much fun to work on a project like this

So are you hooked yet? Can you feel the happiness? And what's more, Amy is generous too... there are tons of FREE project sheets to download on her website. I went a little crazy on there yesterday. And it felt good!

Looks like I'll find a use for that fabric afterall x

{ all images by David Butler at Amy Butler}

Saturday, 17 July 2010

*Magpie* - Enthusiastic about Vintage

I was just reading an insightful post on Enthusiasm over at Scouite Girl and realised that I had never actually got round to explaining to you what the whole *Magpie* thing is. You may have noticed (please tell me you have!) that I often start the title of my posts with one of three words

* Designer * Stylist * Magpie *

These are the 3 words I feel describe who I am and what I do and you can read my definitions of this concept over on my website. Whenever I feel that a post relates directly to one of these definitions of who I am, I begin the title with one of them.

I then got round to thinking what the purpose of this blog is; I mean, why am I here? And why might you be here? And it all boils down to enthusiasm; it's about things I love, hence the name...

Smitten with it all...

This blog is where I can document all the things I come across that enthuse me, inspire me and I can share that with you. I can share the enthusiasm. The dictionary definition of enthusiasm goes like this:
"a feeling of energetic interest in a particular subject or activity and an eagerness to be involved in it "

There are many things in this world that I am inspired by or interested in but when it comes down to enthusiasm, it seems you have to actually be involved in it - or at least be eager to be involved in it.

And so that is where the *Magpie* part comes into our story. I am cuckoo-crazy about  vintage items and so therefore I am enthusiastic about tracking down local vide greniers, brocantes, car-boot sales & thrift shops. I have a great eye for seeking out a treasure amongst the rubbish, and believe me I have rummaged through my share of rubbish! And what's more, I am enthusiastic to share my finds with you. Come to think of it, I have a whole backlog of finds to share with you!

 I also realised that I have recently found a way of highlighting this enthusiasm - albeit unintentionally. At first it was just something to prettify the blog, make the images a little more personalised and keep a continuity of my branding present. But now I see it as more than just the Get Smitten stamp of approval. It's me sharing even more enthusiasm about what I was already enthusiastic about! A double whammy! How about that?

By reading this blog you are part of the journey; you are involved in my enthusiasm. I like that. So, thanks for being here; I hope you enjoy the ride!

And if you'd like to get more involved & maybe even share a little enthusiasm of your own, then why not leave me a comment? Tell me what you think about my posts - or even just say hi!

{Feel Inspired poster designed by Lisa Pocklington at Keep Calm-o-matic. Smitten with it medallion by Lisa Pocklington using graphics by Pugly Pixel }

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

*Magpie* - Bastille Day Brocante

It's a public holiday today here in France - Bastille Day to be precise - and so what better excuse to scour a brocante or vide grenier for some treasures and then enjoy a sunny lunch with friends.

I scored a couple of great finds; impressive as the searing heat made it near impossible to browse at leisure. It was more of a shade-hop experience! The crochet blanket is stunning; I love the crispness of the perfect white cotton. There are a couple of holes that need mending & a gluey blob along one of the edges but nothing that can't be sorted with a little bit of Lisa TLC. Plus it gave me an excuse to haggle! It's big enough to be a bed cover in a white on white room or a picnic blanket in the dappled shade of a tree; but I can see it draped casually over the handrail of the terrace in front of my studio. Oh, wait a sec... what terrace? What Studio?
Well, a girl can dream can't she?

My second find was this set of old books - something I always look out for as they make lovely styling props. Not sure why but there is something appealing about gold stars. I like shiny.
We rounded off the excitement of the morning's foraging with a lovely, relaxing lunch at Le Délice. If only we could've stayed all afternoon sipping chilled rose and nibbling on tapas {sigh}

Liberté, égalité, fraternité  

mes amies!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Designer: Vintage Style Crochet Cardigans

There has been some Etsy love coming my way this week! Firstly there was the Boudoir Butterflies Artwork featured in a treasury and now it is the turn of my vintage style, crochet cardigan. The treasury (below) is called Peach Storm by Zionshore & what a gorgeous collection of peachy goodness she has found. I'm loving all the soft, warm tones of blush, peach & coral this summer. I'm in that same spot on the bottom, centre left again! Thanks Zionshore for the mention x

I designed & made 3 of these cardies (short for cardigans, if you are not familiar with quirky, British terminology) on holiday in the South of France one summer. They are based on the short, waist length, swing jackets that ladies of distinction wore in the 40s & 50s. I made them up in a cashmere blend super chunky yarn which gives them a kitten-soft quality. The third one I never got round to photographing. I want to find an old fashioned carousel with beautiful painted horses to compliment the deep, dusky raspberry of the yarn.

The yarn quality and the hours that went into them are obviously reflected in the selling price, so I appreciate they are not likely to be fast movers. But this makes them all the more special in my mind. They are delightful to wear - I couldn't part with the yellow one in the end and always get compliments whenever I wear it. It's sweet over a white summery dress & I love the line of the 'swing' when I wear it with skinny jeans.

And did you notice the vintage fabric covered buttons?  

I've been thinking about releasing the pattern for them - what do you think? So then you too can enjoy the happiness that comes with wearing something unique & not mass produced.

It's a good feeling; I promise xx

{photos by Jeremy Wilson on his beloved Holga}

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