25 Dec 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Lily in the Labyrinth! 
Thank you for supporting the site throughout 2013 and I look forward to sharing more exciting blog posts with you in the year to come
If you're interested, the angel in the photo above sits atop my family's Christmas tree and has done for as long as I can remember. I love the simple design and muted colours. Do you or your family have any well-loved decorations that help make Christmas the little bit more Christmassy?

Happy Holidays!

14 Dec 2013

DIY: Christmas Kissing Balls

A Brief History of Kissing Balls:
Christmas 'Kissing Balls' date back to the Middle Ages when they were known as 'Holy Boughs' fashioned from evergreen sprigs and twines with a small clay figure in the centre to represent the baby Jesus. Hung over doorways and passageways, it was believed that blessings would be cast on all who passed underneath. During the Victorian era, these 'Holy boughs' evolved to 'Sweet Balls' as the tradition for Christmas decorations stepped up a gear. People would stick sprigs of evergreens, holly, berries, mistletoe and herbs into a potato or apple and hang them by ribbon to act as both a decoration and an early form of air freshener! The balls acquired certain romanticised symbolism as each herb, plant or flower used to decorate them came to represent love, piety, charity and more. As times moved on, Kissing Balls fell out of fashion, with only the mistletoe remaining as a symbol encouraging kissing throughout the festive season. Kissing Balls themselves became popular accessories for weddings, but now - with traditional Christmas decorations as popular as ever - they are making a comeback as simple, easy to make festive decorations . . . 
Simple to Make:
These days, you don't need a potato or apple or even prickly sprigs of holly! In fact, you can find everything you need at your local craft shop or (if you're like me) the back of your cupboards! If you're interested, follow these five easy steps to making your very own Kissing Ball. As you can see, we had a go chez Lily in the Labyrinth - one cold Saturday night we stuck on Strictly Come Dancing, settled down with mugs of hot chocolate and got to work pinning all manner of pretty beads and buttons to paper-covered polystyrene balls. In no time at all, we had some charming decorations (ok, a little 'basic', but who's judging?) that hadn't cost the earth and will be ours to enjoy for years to come. To make your own, read on . . . 
You will need:
- A polystyrene ball - ours were 8cm
Lots of pearl-headed pins
Tissue paper
PVA glue
A brush / glue spreader
Ribbons, buttons, sequins and beads
1) Using a side plate or large saucer as a guide, cut two circles of tissue paper.
2) Cover your polystyrene ball with a thin layer of PVA glue and cover with the tissue paper circles - start from the middle of the circle and smooth the edges down over the ball then repeat over the other half of the ball with the second circle. 
3) Wait for the ball to dry - pop in the airing cupboard or blitz with a hairdryer to speed this up if you like.
4) Decorate the ball by placing beads, buttons, sequins and ribbons on the ball and securing with pearl headed pins. 
5) To hang your ball, secure a loop of ribbon to the top of the ball with a number of pins. I anchored mine down with a four-holed button with a pin in each hole. 

Hang your homemade Kissing Ball and enjoy for years to come! 

Let Lily Know: Will you be making any decorations this festive season? 

13 Dec 2013

Baking: Gingerbread Foxes

Last night Sam (Carousel Cupcakes) and I baked some gingerbread woodland animals. My favourites to make were definitely the foxes as I have such a soft spot for foxes (as you might be able to tell from this recent post!), they were also the easiest to ice as we couldn't decide what markings the other animals - hedgehogs and squirrels - should have! The gingerbread is delicious and warming - perfect for this frosty time of year. If you fancy doing some baking, we recently posted a tutorial for 'Snowy Cranberry and Marshmallow Biscuit Treats' over on the Baking Diary - they would make a lovely homemade gift! Take a peek . . .

Let Lily Know: Will you be doing any Christmas baking this season? 

10 Dec 2013

Gift Guide: For Fox Fans

- Collection Fox Scarf - £22.50 - M&S
Wildlife Notebox - £6 - Magpie Life
Fox Necklace - £135 - Alex Monroe
Fox Cushion - £70 - Donna Wilson
Fox iPhone 5 Case - £24.95 - Joules
Red Fox Mug - £19 - Emma Bridgewater
Maileg Fox Soft Toy - £25 - Heals
Puddin' Head Fox Coaster - £4.95 - Liberty
Woodland Fox Purse - £6.25 - Sass and Belle
Blue Harbour Fox Cufflinks - £15 - M&S

6 Dec 2013

Home: Displaying Vintage Decorations

Trees, decorations and sparkling fairy lights are starting to spring up all over the place as Christmas well and truly takes hold! I don't know about you, but we like to supplement the bigger decorations with some more subtle displays throughout the house. Vintage baubles displayed in large glass jars; colourful glass decorations hanging from light fittings; and clusters of vintage decorations alongside new additions to our collection -  they all go a long way to spreading the Christmas spirit throughout the house without even a hint of tack! 

Let Lily Know: Do you keep Christmas decorations contained to one area of your house or like us, do you spread the magic?

4 Dec 2013

Lily Loves: Vintage Inspired Christmas

- Mercurised harlequin baubles (two variations) - £3.50 each - John Lewis
Pink glass bird - £4  - John Lewis
Ornate soft-pink glass bauble with antique-gold top - £4 - John Lewis
Green scallop glass bauble - £4 - John Lewis
Gold glitter icicles - £2.80 - House of Fraser
Large glass acorn bauble - £5.60 - House of Fraser
Glittery hanging owl - £3.95 - Rigby & Mac
Green glitter trees with baubles - from £10 - Angel at my Table
Green reflector bauble - £3.50 - John Lewis

I love giving my Christmas displays a vintage feel, but buying genuinely vintage baubles and decorations can prove rather expensive. Luckily this year the highstreet has cottoned on to the vintage Christmas trend and come up trumps with these beauties (above). Most come from accessible department stores such as John Lewis and House of Fraser and are reasonably priced - although I must admit I have included a couple from online brands such as An Angel at My Table and Rigby and Mac - but I can say, from my experience, they offer good service and stock some gorgeous, unusual pieces so are well worth checking out as you go about your Christmas shopping this year.

30 Nov 2013

Lily Loves: Nutcracker Jewellery Advent Calendar

This charming Nutcracker Advent Calendar from Oliver Bonas makes the perfect alternative to all the chocolate-filled calendars on offer this season as each little door instead conceals a silver charm for you to attach to a charm bracelet (which I assume is also hidden behind one of the doors). Designed to look like a classic music box, complete with mirror and little pop up dancers, this adorable little box would make such a lovely treat for any little girl (or, urm, grown-up jewellery fan!) this December. I certainly can't wait to start opening mine on Sunday! 
Let Lily Know: What advent calendar have you got this December? Chocolate? Beauty? Or maybe something different like this offering?

28 Nov 2013

Highstreet Highlight: Vintage-Style Radio Tin

I couldn't resist sharing this little bargain I spotted on my lunch break today - it's a lovely tin designed to look like a vintage radio! In gorgeous minty-blue and cream colours and with plenty of detail included, the tin comes stuffed full of individually wrapped toffees and will only set you back £4! Bargain! 
I had a little browse on eBay when I got back to my desk and found the exact same offering for three times the price! So if you are a novelty / vintage tin addict like me then be sure to have a peek in your local Tesco for this little treasure!

22 Nov 2013

Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers for Her

- Fifi Lapin Gold Plated Enamel Charm - £15.50 approx - Fifi Lapin
Pug and Rabbit Necklaces - £19.50 each - An Angel at My Table
Paris Street Style Book - £15.99 - Anthropologie
Bi Mat Cay Lip Balm - £6 - Anthropologie 
Josephine Miniature Frames - £8.50 each - An Angel at My Table
Applique Blossom Ring - £68 - Anthropologie
Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles - £22 - Liberty
Q&A A Day - Five Year Journal - £8.26 - Amazon
ESPA Little Box of Calm - £12.50 - Liberty
Russian Doll Salt & Pepper Pots - £5.50 - Rigby & Mac
Life's Little Mysteries Notebook - £12.95 - Liberty
Penguins Quilted Wash-Bag Set - £15 - Cath Kidston
Alice in Wonderland - £9.99 - Anthropologie 

19 Nov 2013

Lily Loves: Coral and Tusk

Coral and Tusk's brilliant creations are hand-drawn and designed by Brooklyn-based designer Stephanie Housley, whose imagination comes to life in the form of embroidered pillows and accessories. Inspired by nature and travel, Stephanie identifies greatly with animals and loves to imagine where they might live and what they might wear and accessorize themselves with if they could. As you can see in the following images, Coral and Tusk dolls and pillows often have little pockets acting as a home for an embroidered little critter, or concealing a hand-stitched tool or treat. Genius! Be sure to take a look at the Coral and Tusk website and take a peek into Stephanie's world in this charming short film about her work. 
(Photos by Kate Lacey)

Coral and Tusk is stocked in the UK at Couverture & The Garbstore and Selvedge.

17 Nov 2013

Gift Guide: An Air of Scandinavia | Etsy Edit

- Copenhagen Houses brooch - £27 - Shlomit Ofir
Tiny Dala horse trinket - £17 - Sweden-based Mijbil Creatures
Pair of Christmas Tomte figurines made in Sweden - £25 - Bit of Butter
DIY mistletoe heart cross-stitch pattern - £3 - Sweden-based Anette Eriksson
Hand-knitted Nordic pattern mittens - £15 - Gimmoka
Dala horse mug - £6.50 - Bournemouth-based Jilly Bird Design
Folk bird earrings - £30 - Lichen and Lychee
Vintage Swedish wooden doll - £21 - Germany-based Oppning

Please note prices are often rounded up/down and do not include shipping.

14 Nov 2013

Gift Guide: Little Lion Tamers

Roll up! Roll up! With Christmas fast approaching, we're kicking of the Lily in the Labyrinth gift guide with a collection of goodies perfect for the little lion tamers in your lives - that's children who love the circus! From big top-themed jigsaw puzzles, prints, jewellery and cushions to play sets and practical dinner sets; from stocking fillers to full-on gifts - we've got every angle covered. Our personal favourite is the gorgeous Danish designed Maileg circus play set (above) available from Lake District-based Armstrong Ward. But which of our picks is your favourite? Be sure to let us know in the comments! 

- Maileg circus soft toy set and big top - from £12 - Armstrong Ward
Lion Tamer screen print - £25 - Steph Marshall based just outside London
Circular circus jigsaw puzzle - approx £14 - by Londji at Swedish site Petit Violette
Sad Joe cushion - £58 - by Lucky Boy Sunday at Lapin & Me 
Circus dinner set - £30 - Lapin & Me
Wooden circus toy set - £31 - German brand Goki (via Amazon)
Ring master necklace - Bristol-based myBearHands

A new era for Lily in the Labyrinth

Hello, thank you for stopping by! I am very excited to announce a new era for Lily in the Labyrinth - as regular readers will be able to tell, the site has had a lick of paint (or several coats of paint to put it more accurately) and is now hopefully much more user friendly, informative and enjoyable to look at and visit. The site also now has its very own domain name:
Please update your bookmarks and don't forget to 'follow' the site with Google Reader - every reader really is hugely appreciated. I have a lot of exciting posts in the pipeline and can't wait to continue to share the amazing creative work of others, vintage and antique finds and other such trinkets with you.

28 Oct 2013

Travel: Snowshill Manor (part two) . . .

The gardens surrounding the hoarder's paradise that is Snowshill Manor are themselves divided into distinct 'rooms'. It was really interesting wandering around the grounds, soaking up the different atmospheres and enjoying some early autumn sunshine on our visit. I particularly loved the beehives and the striking blue colour used as an accent on paintwork thoughout the grounds - oh, and of course the newly refurbished section of former owner Charles Paget Wade's handmade Wolf's Cove model village was also a treat to see . . . 
Be sure to click 'Read More' (below, right) to view the full post

22 Oct 2013

Travel: Snowshill Manor (part one) . . .

Last month I visited Snowshill Manor - a winding, rabbit-warren of a house, so cluttered with its eccentric owner's vast collections that he chose to live in a modest, converted outhouse and give the Manor over entirely to the wonder of craftsmanship. With a motto of 'Let Nothing Perish', Charles Paget Wade devoted his adult life to filling Snowshill from bottom to top with all manner of objects - from the ordinary to the occult, everything had a place in his kingdom of clutter. Hidden away near the town of Broadway in the quiet, rolling countryside of the Cotswolds, Snowshill Manor was given to the National Trust by Wade in the 1950s and today is open to the public.
Some of my favourite items in the house included all the beautiful oriental cabinets - I wish I could have had hours to rummage through all the little drawers and cupboards they housed! The little wooden houses that once formed part of a model village named "Wolf's Cove" were also fascinating as was a large collection of Samurai warrior armor tucked away in a darkened room - very eearie! It was hard to take photos inside the house as a lot of the rooms were dark, but here are some snaps I took: 
Please click 'Read More' (below, right) to see the full post. 

15 Oct 2013

Lily Loves: Mother Eagle embroidery . . .

These intricately embroidered pendants are the work of Worthing-based creative, Mother Eagle (aka Katie). Katie designs and makes all her patterns by hand before stitching in miniature using threads and fabrics handed down to her and often dating back to the 1950s. With stitches often measuring just a millimeter in length, each piece involves hours and hours of meticulous work under magnifying lamps, with Katie using fine English needles to ensure a neat finish. I particularly love the swirling details on the skull pendants pictured below - especially as Halloween is fast approaching! If you like what you see, be sure to check out the Mother Eagle website, Twitter and Pinterest- details listed below.  
 Above: Embroidered Midwinter Quarters Skull Pendant 
Above: Embroidered Midwinter Quarters Skull Pendant
Above: The Midwinter Fox Pendant
Above: The March Hare Pendant 

Find Mother Eagle:
Pinterest: MotherEagle
Not On The Highstreet: Mother Eagle 


11 Oct 2013

Lily Loves: Entomology Accessories . . .

- Butterfly Tote Bag - Oliver Bonas - £12 (was £15)
Butterfly notebooks - Oliver Bonas - £7 each (were £10 each)
Tory Burch 'Kerrington Bigitte' cosmetic case - Shopbop - £61.91
Silver origami butterfly necklace - Oliver Bonas - £25 (was £38)
Encrusted beetle brooch - Kenneth Jay Lane at The Outnet - £32.50 (was £65)
Butterfly Collection cushion - John Lewis - £30
Tapestry butterfly holdall - Kiki's Gifts & Homeware - £65

14 May 2013

Off-Cuts at Tate Modern . . .

My friends and I recently took part in Off-Cuts - a zine-making event held at the Tate Modern on 27-28 April. Organised by It's Nice That in collaboration with Zine Swap and graphic designer Patrick Fry (No Zine), the two-day event took over part of the Tate Modern's new Tate Tank space and offered gallery visitors the space and materials to create their very own zine. I'll admit, we stumbled upon Off-Cuts purely by chance as we waited for our allocated time to visit the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective, but with an hour to spare we got stuck in and loved it! A zine was a concept we'd toyed with as a group before, but never got passed the note making stage. Taking part in Off-Cuts gave us all the kick we needed to finally get making and in no time at all we had all put together our zines and were wishing we didn't have to leave! 
Due to rushing and not being able to find the 'right' imagery for my chosen zine-theme (yes, I'm picky), I wasn't 100% happy with the product I created at the event, but since then I have raided my own stash of ephemera and am now in the process of creating a Lily in the Labyrinth zine that I'm proud of. I'll be sure to share it here when it's done, but for now here are some pictures from the event . . .
Above: Left - Our zines slowly come together | Right - I get to grips with speed-zineing!
Above: The work tables were overflowing with inspiration and materials for us to make our zines with.
Above: The Off-Cuts workroom in the Tate Modern's new Tate Tanks exhibition space.
 Above: A wall of zines for us to take inspiration from and eventually add our own zines to.
Above: Left - Ele of White Elephants hard at work on her zine | Right - More established zines to inspire.

Thank you to my friend Clare for the majority of these images. 

Let Lily Know: Did you take part in Off-Cuts? Have you ever made a zine? I'd love to know!

14 Mar 2013

Travel: Rome, Italy . . .

Last November my boyfriend and I took a special trip to Rome to celebrate his 30th birthday. We had an amazing time walking around the city trying to see as many of the sites as we could on our brief trip. Rome is like no other city I've ever been to - there are breath-taking monuments, ruins and iconic statues, buildings and sites around every corner. It's truly like being in a living museum!  I meant to post these images last year, but have only just realised the blog post was sitting in my draft folder! Whoops! Anyway, I hope you enjoy these images I took on our trip . . .

6 Mar 2013

Highstreet Highlight: Statement necklaces . . .

Short, statement necklaces allow us to dress up even the most basic outfits whilst expressing our personalities - what's not to love? Here I've put together my pick of reasonably-priced statement necklaces from the British highstreet. I've included a range of styles, with most coming from easily accessible stores such as Dorothy Perkins, Zara, Accessorize and Forever21 with a price tag under £20 (...please forgive the one sneaky necklace from Anthropologie. I couldn't resist!).
Ethnic Flare:
Left: Silver plated ethnic applique bib - Zara - £22 | Right: Eden Wow Bib Collar - Accessorize - £19
Colour Pop:
Left: Grasp necklace (also in pink) - Pieces - £20.30 | Right: Bejewelled triangle bib - Forever21 - £7.40
 Cool Cord:
Left: Rope chain faceted gold bib - Warehouse - £14 | Right: Chunky beads on cord - Dorothy Perkins - £15
Cut-Out and Keep:
Left: Gold cut-out bib - Forever21 - £5.65 | Right: Silver-look cut-out wheel necklace - Dorothy Perkins - £16.50
Touch of Turquoise:
Left: Turquoise bead tube necklace - Dorothy Perkins - £14 | Right: Triangle stone necklace - Dorothy Perkins - £14 
Woven Wonders:
Left: Pastel woven embellished necklace - Dorothy Perkins - £15 | Right: Bejewelled spray necklace - Anthropologie - £118
Chain Gang: 
Left: Chain necklace with appliques - Zara - £22 | Right: Crystal embellished mesh choker - Mango - £44.99 

I hope this selection of highstreet highlights has given you some idea of how you can get involved in on of jewellery's hottest trends whatever your budget or style. 

Let Lily Know: Which, if any of these picks is your favourite or where have you found your ideal statement necklace?

12 Feb 2013

Lily Loves: Aili Jewelry . . .

I was browsing Catbird, a lovely online jewellery shop, when products by one particular brand kept catching my eye. Aili Jewelry is hand made in Brooklyn by Monica Ruzansky. Meaning 'light' in Gaelic, Aili reflects Monica's love of the medium of light and sees the designer use only recycled metals supplied by sustainable-certified companies. Here I've selected a few of my favourite pieces from the range. I love how delicate the items are and the contrast of the different tones of turquoise against the silver and gold metals . . .

- Tulum Earrings - silver with turquoise - two greenish-blue turquoise droplets nestled in a little bar of silver. 
- Tulum Triangle Earrings - gold with turquoise - three little oceanic droplets nestled in triangles of gold. 
- Tulum Mon Amour collection of stackable silver and turquoise rings.
Oval Gold Necklace with turquoise stone.
- Diamond Ring featuring black diamonds on a 14ct gold hammered gold band.
- Parrallelogram Earrings with black diamonds. 
- Tulum Moon Necklace featuring eight turquoise droplets.
- Tulum Eternal Sunshine Ring featuring a gold band with green and blue turquoise stones. 

27 Jan 2013

Highstreet Highlight: Affordable Homeware . . .

- Glass owl vase - Matalan - £8
Set of 3 filled glass votives - Laura Ashley - £14.40
Rabbit ornament - M&S - £19.50
Boutique small bowl - Matalan - £8
Triangle pastel pop hand and bath towels - Matalan - From £4 - £7
Terrainium - Next - £45
Light blue metal bird - Debenhams - £6
Glass Cockatoo - Next - £22 
Beehive treat jar - Next - £10
Pair of Bloomsbury tea-towels - Laura Ashley - £8.64

Let Lily Know: Have you found any bargain homeware treats so far this year?

22 Jan 2013

Guest post: Astley Clarke on the origins of Gemstones . . .

Astley Clarke was founded by Bec Astley Clarke in London in 2006 to celebrate the world’s very best in fine jewellery design and craftsmanship and to pioneer the very best in online luxury. Here, in a fascinating guest post for Lily in the Labyrinth's 'Learn with Lily' series, the brand gives some insight into the origins of precious gemstones . . .

When you walk into a jewellery store, or even open your own jewellery box, you are met with stunning pieces of jewellery laced with gorgeous gemstones and other beautiful adornments. But have you ever wondered where these precious gemstones come from? They may be stunning on the surface, but the true beauty lies within the story that is behind them...
There are lots of beautiful gemstones which are used to create striking fashion items; from a deep sapphire gem ring to a stunning ruby necklace - the choice is endless. Yet, most of these gorgeous gemstones began their journey under the Earth's surface - not one of the most glamorous places; that's for sure. Nevertheless, the process which takes place in order to create each gemstone differs between each gem.

Above: Zara Simon 'Shard Ring' featuring green amethyst | Ruth Tomlinson 'Diamond Cluster' ring featuring grey diamonds | Astley Clarke 'Masquerade Hare' pendant featuring milky moonstone | Astley Clarke 'Square Sonatina' pyrite earrings

Most gemstones are created via the process of minerals and water coming together. The two components get close to the Earth's surface and react against one and other, resulting in a dissolve. The remains of this process will eventually cool down and turn into beautiful stones. Of course, what stone you are left with all depends on which minerals were involved in the reaction. For example, azurite forms when rocks which are high in copper mix with water. On the other hand, amethyst is created when rocks which are high in silica mix with water.
In addition to this, there are lots of precious gemstones which are created via the igneous process. These gems include the likes of topaz, diamonds, moonstone and tanzanite. This occurs when magma rises through the volcano pipes and then solidifies once it reaches the Earth's surface. The solidification process results in crystals and thus, the gorgeous gemstone is formed. 
Above: Astley Clarke 'Night Owl' necklace feat. labradorite | Mushroom 'Bolsena Bracelet' feat. labradorite, milky aqua, moonstone and diamond | Ostinato coral 'Eternity Ring| Astley Clarke 'Lucky Cat' friendship bracelet feat. black rhodium.

Another method of rock creation is the metamorphosis process. This procedure occurs when rocks are affected by monumental amounts of heat and pressure, and can often be as a result of intrusive magma in the area. This forces them to go through a transition period which actually results in a complete change of form. The result is stunning gems, such as sapphire, ruby and jade
Above: Anne Sportun 'Stardust Ring' feat. diamonds | Monica Vinader 'Mini Luna Ring' feat. moonstone | Astley Clarke 'Blue Moon Fox Pendant' feat. blue tiger's eye | Astley Clarke 'Shine Studs' feat. moonstone | Astley Clarke 'Fanfare Earrings' feat. rhodolite, amethyst and carnelian 

So there you have it; three of the most popular ways in which precious gemstones are formed. It is amazing to think that the gems we wear on our jewellery pieces started their life underneath the ground and that a series of chemical reactions resulted in such beauty. Next time you pick up that stunning ruby gem ring, you may wonder where in the world the precious stone began its journey, when it went through the metamorphosis process and how it ended up sparkling on your finger. 

(Written for Lily in the Labyrinth by: Bianca Ridley)

Lily Says: For further reading, be sure to check out Astley Clarke's brilliant gemstone guide. The brand stocks really lovely gemstone jewellery, some of my favourite picks feature above in this post - I particularly like the Blue Moon Fox Pendant and the Ruth Tomlinson ring! Which piece is your favourite? I'd love to know :)
© Lily in the Labyrinth
Site designed by: Maira Gall