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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

well hello...

I think, to start, my humble apologies are required along with some sort of damn good excuse as to why it has been so very long since I wrote about anything over here.

Well... sorry.

And excuse wise...well that would fill a good long post that I don't have the time or energy for right now. If you'll excuse me for a just another day or so I will be back (I promise) but right now my I need a nice glass of wine at our local with my fiance. (Yes fiance you read it right. My lovely man has been upgraded or rather more accurately he has upgraded me to the position of one to soon be wed and yes, that is one of the excuses!)

with love from a rather overly emotional little acorn xxx

* image found on the wonderful world of pinterest originally from here

Friday, 8 July 2011

Observations on the wine rack

As I write I am sitting looking out on a rather damp Edinburgh summer evening with a glass of wine by my side. Whilst I know I should probably venture out, the warm flat and bewitching ruby glow of the wine is too appealing. Instead I will write a much belated post on a recent creation.

A lovely lady came to me with a wine rack commission in mind. She wanted something a bit different, preferably made with oak and most definitely special as this was to be a wedding gift. I very much liked this little project form the start. I put pen to paper (or mouse to sketch-up) and sent out three designs for her to choose from. After some consultation with the other parties involved, a design was decided upon and this was it:

I was so glad they chose this one as it was by far my most favourite and the one I thought would be most interesting to make. What I also loved was that with this wine rack it was always going to be more than just a wine rack (well that is what I hoped for and hope I have achieved). It's shape and size meant that from the beginning we understood that it would be floor standing and that it would probably need a bit of room to be displayed properly. It was not simply a functional kitchen item but an addition to the home. 

I am no wine connoisseur by any means but I know that those who are have cellars and special temperature controlled fridges and then there are some of us on the other end of the spectrum (me included) who have a simple Ikea rack stuffed in a corner on the kitchen worktop. Despite this I would like to think there is room out there for something a bit different, that we might want more from our 'functional items'. Why shouldn't fine wines (or whiskeys for that matter) be stored in something visually interesting? Something that reflects its humble, natural beginnings and draws attention to the amazing process, the hours of labour and craftsmanship that were employed to produce the beautifully balanced nectar.... 

From grapes and acorns to merlots and wine racks.

enjoy your weekend... and if you are in Edinburgh and looking for a lovely wine I would highly recommend these guys

With massive thanks to Rachel Rowley for all the photos. Read about her adventures as part of the team behind Edinburgh's first supper club here.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


My goodness I have neglected the little blog lately. I have been meaning to write for sometime; ideas for posts have been rattling around inside my head but I haven't much felt like writing. Indeed, I passed a whole 16 hrs on trains this weekend - an ideal opportunity you would think, but alas no. I huffed at delays, slept, read, eavesdropped, froze then sweated (delightful) but did nothing productive at all.

To return to the post. A few weeks ago I was driving (which I seem to do a lot of) and letting my thoughts wander as they normally do. This day however I got rather philosophical on myself. As I drove along a quiet road edged with tall, elegant trees that gracefully bowed their heads to form a tunnel dappled with light - a quiet, magical place - I started thinking about these great giants of the natural world. I thought about how proud they looked, how majestic they are and how, no-matter what passes -  turmoils, economic crises, wars, life and death, these beautiful trees stand strong and firm through it all quietly witnessing the events and bearing the scars. In my minds eye I can see the great old oak trees where children from one generation to next clamber up their rough bark, small hands stretching for branches overhead and feet kicking and scrabbling to climb even higher. There's a place under it's thick canopy where walkers and couples looking for peace have found shelter and a secret hiding place from the world.  

 Borrowdale yew, Cumbria *

The 'tree of hope'**

Then, but a day or two later, it was as if Mother Nature was teaching sentimental old me a lesson. The wind flurried and flustered and then came on strong, fierce and relentless. It battered the trees, shook them and stripped them of their loose branches and delicate spring leaves. Trees now lay fallen like wounded soldiers with broken arms and feet uprooted. These fallen ones saddened me; their bark ripped off to reaveal pale, delicate flesh so raw in the sunlight. Their life lines, the sturdy deep roots now an exposed tangle of mud and twisted cords.

Whilst I stood and breathed in the sweet, mildew smell of the newly turned soil that clung to the roots I realised that although the fall of these majestic trees was sad, they would live on. The fine trees might now provide a home for new creatures, compost for little seedlings, a playground for curious children and maybe just maybe a table or chair for you or me.

* This Yew is immortalized in Yew Trees By William Wordsworth.
Photograph by Simon Fraser sourced from The Guardian article 'Six of Britain's Oldest Trees'  

** The only remaining pine from a grove of 70,000. This pine is a symbol of hope to the people of Rikuzentakata whose town was hit by the devastating Tsunami that struck Japan earlier this year. Photo source:

The bottom three images are mine.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A special birthday box

Dear reader,

I don't know about you but for me the big 30th birthday seems to be creeping ever closer whispering in my ear WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING GIRL? Where's the good job, the security and all that sorted-ness that is meant to come with those two seemingly innocent numbers 3 and 0? 

Anyway, time to stop this self indulgence, this post is not about me. 

Back in March a lovely lady had a special birthday and this dear friend and her wonderful family kindly came to me with a birthday box request. To be precise, a jewellery box, one that was fit for this special birthday. Those of you who know me will know how much I love making boxes. I love their delicacy and the accuracy that they require; it is so refreshing after working on a large scale most of the time. So, with the brief in mind I sought out some of my very favourite timber - wych elm* and scurried to my local haberdashery** for some felt to compliment this elm. Whilst I pondered over the details of the box my eye wandered to my stash of reclaimed mahogany***and with that glance I was sold. So it would be, a wych elm box with mahogany handle, mahogany insert tray, finished with brass pins and a moss green felt. 

Top down view

Handle detail. The lid is a lift off lid.

Mahogany tray with brass pins.


A lovely example of the grain pattern in the elm.

* You can read more about the wych elm here. I love it for its tight, twisted grain that polishes up so beautifully and for the mesmirising green streaks and swirls that run through it.

** A proper haberdashery is hard to find these days. They are now squirreled away in corners of large department stores. My 'local' haberdashery used to be local until I moved workshop. It is still the best I have found for my purposes. It is called Fabrication and can be found on Main Street, Haddington you can find contact details here

*** An aside on the mahogany.

On a beautiful weekend spent with the lovely man's parents his dad asked if I would have any use for some planks of mahogany? Lets be accurate here, these are 6 ft plus long, 1 1/4" thick, beautifully straight and dry mahogany boards.

HAVE ANY USE I thought, this is like asking a pig if he'd like to roll in some fresh, sweet, smelly mud! I jumped at it. My slight hesitation being how on earth I'd get it home in my rather small and full of c**p car (hence why half of it is still with my lovely man's parents). 

The mahogany we discuss was cunningly saved from the skip at a school clearance. The mahogany that now makes up the tray and handle of the box was once a humble school gym bench... it makes me smile even writing about it.

A massive thank you to Rachel for the gorgeous photos. You can see more of her lovely photography and read all about her and husband Chris's fabulous and much admired secret supper club here.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The sweetest thing

Sugar and spice and all things nice that's what chairs can be made of...

This brilliant chair designed by Pieter Brenner is made entirely of sugar - that is one hell of a sugar rush. It got me thinking though; is there more furniture out there made from foodstuffs? 

Funnily enough I couldn't really find much. These however are the few I found. Some more appealing to the eye than others (pun intended)!
Potato chair 1

Recycled coffee chair 2

1. This chair is actually made from a potato. A real, dug up from the field, dried out and carved potato. The designer Gert Eussen uses the potato chairs as models for the real people sized thing which is made of bio-plastic. Read more over here.

2. This incredible eco-chair from the clever people at Re-worked is made from recycled coffee grounds and post-consumer plastic waste. The legs are made from salvaged wood. The coffee is sourced from cafes, offices and factories. The plastic waste we're talking about is the stuff that is tricky to recycle like refrigerators. A pretty amazing product. Courtesy of their website, here is the concept:


Can you find any other food to furniture examples? I'd love to see them.