Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Wednesday's Workbox (23rd May)

Yesterday I wrote about the three decorating books that I have which are produced by the famous British furnishings and fabric designer, Laura Ashley.  When I first got these books, I was interested to be able to read a little more about this famous designer, whose name has come to be associated with dainty, feminine floral patterned dresses and timelessly attractive, cottage-style furnishings.

Born in the 1920's in Wales, she intially trained as a fashion designer, but after having her 4 children, became a "home worker", selling rustic-style kitchen and dining textiles such as tea-towels and tablecloths, that she designed and created herself at home.   From this small beginning grew a huge and extremely successful multinational business selling the same simply designed, Victorian-inspired fabrics that she had originally made, using basic printmaking equipment that she and her husband Bernard had purchased to use at home. 

It is lovely to think that even someone as successful as this world-renowned businesswoman, who passed away after a tragic accident in the 1980's, had a small and humble beginning as a stay-at-home mother who wanted to make extra money to support her family of 4 children!  She was also devoted to Bernard, who was not only her husband but her business partner and the operational manager of the business from the beginning, and as their children grew they too all joined the business as well.  Just as Papa Bear hopes that Cubby will join him the family business that he himself works for!  And indeed so do I - working from home as the book keeper and secretary!   It is interesting to read of examples of other families where a similar model for providing an income for the family has been employed to such a great success - though I don't think our family business will ever reach such dizzy heights!

The three books that I have are a great inspiration to me in other ways too - they contain a wealth of ideas for home decorating which aren't necessarily expensive or complicated.  There are instructions for creating soft furnishings for every room, and design ideas too, which make use of items most people probably already have around the home.  A great deal of what goes into creating an attractive and well furnished home has nothing to do with how much money you spend - or how well appointed your home is - but on how much imagination you have to work with!  You can make a tranquil and tasteful environment using the plainest and simplest furnishings - even shelves made of planks resting on piles of bricks, and armchairs created out of piles of cushions can look lovely, if you put them together with a little inspiration!  These books are a wonderful resource to turn to when I'm in need of some ideas for cheering up our home or rearranging things.  It's a much more economical way to give the flat a new look, than having to go out and buy new things.  Here are links to the 3 books, which are all available on and  I thoroughly recommend them - they will cost you only a couple of pounds or dollars each - less than the cost of a glossy home decor magazine -  and are well worth this for the inspiration they provide (please note, although the content of the books is the same, the date of publication, and therefore the cover design, may vary depending on where you buy them from).