Sunday, 30 May 2010

Just the ticket...

Well, as you can probably guess - Ryan is up to high doe awaiting the arrival of his Bee Book... (honestly, it's brilliant - he's like a kid at Christmas, saying "is it Tuesday yet!?"...but, it really better arrive or else I will have one very disappointed chap on my hands...) so when I came across these little bowls today, it made me smile as I imagined him collecting honey into one of them, one day in perhaps the not too distant future!

The gorgeous, cheeky wee face bowl and plain bee bowl are by deepfired, Glasgow based Ceramicist Julia Smith, and you can find her lovely creations here on Etsy, and also on Folksy.

Hope you enjoy browsing, and keep your fingers crossed for Tuesday! ;)


Thursday, 27 May 2010

Tiny pleasures...

It's always been said that the best things come in small packages, and this could never be more true than when speaking of the work of artist, Sarah Neuburger and the work she creates under the label "The Small Object".

Cuurently based in Savannah, Georgia, Sarah adorns all sorts of lovely, little things with her adorable illustrations, and allows you to do the same by also producing a large range of wooden stamps...everything from matryoshkas to dust bunnies, and hedgehogs to smiling ice-creams cones is covered in the collection and can be sprinkled as liberally as you please using the tiny inkpads, in glorious colours, she also

Alongside the stamps, is the most wonderful assortment of other tiny things that add the perfect touch of delicate sweetness wherever you decide to use them- storage containers, cake toppers, trinket boxes, bookmarks and loads of other
prettiness besides.

I love her simple, almost childlike style of drawing, and can imagine getting terribly carried away with my credit card next time i'm in a spendy mood! Before long, my house could be completely covered in a glorious confetti of her splendid little characters :)

Enjoy her blog


Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Oh, bee-hive!

I can't wait to order this gorgeous looking book...i've always loved bees, and am fascinated with the possibility of keeping my own in the garden (along with the chickens and the neatly trimmed rows of planted vegetables- it's becomming the veritable "Good Life" aound here!).
Ever since researching the "Eglu", mentioned in this post, keeping bees in the garden has seemed to be a real possibility, so a little light reading (i.e. obsessive research- I can't help myself when I get a *cough* "bee in my bonnet" about learning something new...the sheer amount of useless information in my head is staggering!) is in order.

Has anyone read this book, or any others they can recommend...the 2872 listed on Amazon is a little overwhelming!


Tuesday, 25 May 2010


If they were paintings, the work above by artist Lauren Gray would be gorgeous enough, but it becomes absolutely mind-blowing when you learn that it is all done using "pyrography"...the art of burning wood.

As described by Lauren, "Pyrography is the traditional art of using a heated tip to burn images onto natural materials such as wood or leather. It is a challenging medium to work in because the permanent nature of burning requires constant precision an missteps are not easily corrected. It is very much like drawing in a sense, but done with a hot wire tip instead of a pencil. The different tonal values and subtle graduations are created carefully by varying the pressure and temperature of the pen tip."

The level of accuracy, skill, and sheer concentration required to create such stunning works without the ability to re-do areas, or erase any mistakes is utterly staggering!

It would be incredibly difficult to decide which piece I love the most, and it's currently a war raging between my love of bees, and the breath-taking detail of the piece "Cathedral"(the woman's portrait above)...I also adore the image of the knot being untangled... Oooohhh decisions, decisions..!

Lauren's work is currently available on etsy, and you can enjoy her blog here.


Friday, 21 May 2010

Giveaway: And the Winner is...

Thanks so much to everyone who entered our giveaway to win this lovely set of abigail*ryan tea-towels!

We closed the comments at 6pm this evening, and used a
random number generator to select our winner... who is...

Dun, dun, dun...

Commenter Number 2: Trish!! (Congrats! We will email you shortly!)

We really appreciate everyone who took the time to enter, and really loved hearing all your ideas and what you enjoy best on our blog - it's been great to have the feedback!

Please keep in touch as it's been lovely getting to know you all a little more!

Abigail & Ryan

Flights of Fancy...

Abi and I have recently been re-watching all the series of Project Runway (we have a hole left by series 7 ending that needs filled!) and one of our favourite winners was Irina Shabayeva.

Even though series 6 (the season she won) was pretty roundly slated (and probably rightfully so), her collection was beautifully understated and luxurious...and would certainly have held it's own against any other season finale collections.

Portrayed as, sadly, not the nicest of people, during the run of the show, her talent and design skills won's hard to admit that you love the work of a person who, you imagine, you wouldn't like, but her collection was so good we fell for it completely.

Since the show, Irina has shown a Fall 2010 collection, sponsored by, believe it or not, Tupperware!

The images above are taken from the collection, and they are stunning- a simply gorgeous collection that looks rich, luxurious and elegant. We're not fans of fur at abigail*ryan, and we certainly hope the feathers are cruelty free, too, but, assuming the fur is fake, and that a major corporation like Tupperware wouldn't be willing to condone the use of items sourced through animal cruelty, we love pretty much everything about the collection. The hand-painted feathers are a genius touch, and the mixture of wonderfully wearable pieces with stunning statement gowns is, we think, the mark of a great designer...everything is simply flawless!

For more images, and further commentary, have a peek here.


Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Leafy Loveliness...

Browsing the archives of Ryan's new favourite blog, "Design Fetish" I saw these gorgeously whimsical cable ties by design firm "Lufdesign".

Adding a touch of humour, and the most subtly gorgeous suggestion of nature taking over that most modern of things- the spaghetti tangle of wires that threatens to overwhelm our computer desks and TV cabinets- each cable tie neatens the tangle whilst turning it in to something beautiful...a twisting winding branch.

Gosh, I really couldn't love them more!


p.s. Don't forget to enter our Giveaway to win a set of lovely a*r teatowels!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Our recent flurry of blogging has managed to increase our blog tally to 100 POSTS!!

We're rather pleased with ourselves about this, and hope you've been enjoying all the loveliness we've found- Abi and I promise to keep up the good work! We love doing the research and taking the time to find new and exciting things, so we hope you love reading as much as we love writing our little corner of the ether... :)

After a bit of think, we thought we'd celebrate this little milestone with a giveaway- one which will, hopefully, give us the chance to get to know our readers a little better. We'd love to know what you think of our blog and products, and we'd really love to make some more marvelous bloggy friends... do you enter, and what could you win?!

Well, all we'd like is for you to leave us a comment on this post telling us:

1/ What your favourite product from our range is.

2/ What you'd like us to expand into in the future (we have loads of plans for the coming year, but it's always good to get some input!).

3/ What you would like to see more of on our blog.

4/ If you've had a favourite post so far- which one was it?

Each comment will be numbered in order of posting, and we'll use a random number generator to choose the winner...

The prize?
A set of two of our 100% cotton teatowels...handprinted with abigail's fantastic botanical illustrations in turquoise and ink, and worth £21 + p&p.

How can you resist?!

The competition is open until friday 21st, 6pm GMT.

Good luck and we look forward to hearing from you!


Monday, 17 May 2010

Trippin' over these shoes!

I have a deeply secret shame...I LOVE shoes. Not in a manly, cool, distanced fashionista kind of way, but a full on girly, squealy, giggly love for them. For the longest time, I even considered becoming a shoe designer (a milliner, too...I was/am rather indecisive!).

Anyway, pottering about online today, I found this shoe collection and gasped...I may even have wee'd a tiny bit.

So...for all you fellow shoe lovers, make yourself a nice cup of tea, get some biscuits, maybe even light a scented candle- get yourself in the zone for some shoefull bliss.

Click here, and enjoy. The samples above are just a tiny taster of what's to come!


Sunday, 16 May 2010

Golden Eye...

I'm sure you remember the stunning work by Natsuo Ikegami, mentioned in Abi's post here...

Well, while browsing her website, I followed the link to Gallery Keiko Goto and it's here I first saw the beautiful paintings by Takahide Komatsu.

The delicacy, yet intense vibrancy of the subjects (usually butterflies), is balanced, and even enhanced, by the incredible pure silver or gold backgrounds. They have such lush richness that they seem, somehow, from another time...decidedly oriental, yet also reminiscent of russian orthodox religious icons with their stylisation and use of precious metals.


Just a quickie..!

A wee quick quickie...posted from our sun-filled, almost too bright to see the laptop screen, garden!

Kylie's new song...we think it's a grower- you might, too ;)



Saturday, 15 May 2010


Ryan showed me these drawings by Natsuo Ikegami last night, and gosh, my boy has fallen hard for them! I have to admit, I am extremely drawn to them too...

Their beautiful textured detail, woven like a patch-work of hatching, adds such depth and interest to the pieces and gives such lovely contrast to the simple white figures with flowing hair. There would always be something to look at in them.

Find more of Natsuo's lovely work in her etsy shop, Chana Bean!


Thursday, 13 May 2010

Video killed the radio star...

Hold on a moment...I just have something in my eye... *sniff*

Advertising can be wonderful...beautiful, moving short films that touch you in surprising ways (who can forget the first time they saw the Sony Bravia bouncing balls advert..?). This latest effort from John Lewis is one of those few that manage to surpass their origins as adverts and become something more...helped, in no small part, by the gorgeous soundtrack.

As well as being so very lovely, I hope this ad will do two other equally marvelous things- remind the world of the genius that is Billy Joel, and introduce everyone who hasn't been introduced already to the wonders of Guillemots (the advert soundtrack is sung by their lead singer, Fyfe Dangerfield)...their 2008 album, "Red" was, by far, one of my absolute favourites of that year...and remains on heavy rotation in casa del abigail*ryan!


Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A whale of a time...

I found the illustration work of Ryan Fowler through his etsy shop, Native Vermont. A Master of Fine Art from the Rhode Island School of Design, he now lives and works with his ceramicist wife in Chicago.

I am totally enraptured with his work, and especially love his collage pieces - scans of his original paintings, pieced onto lovely chunky canvases and hand finished with painted backgrounds and detail... I love the idea of getting something individual, touched by hand (not just a print) but at an affordable price.

His work calls to mind both
Charlie Harper, and Eric Carle whose work I also adore, and I am totally taken with both images above...

I think
the whale is just beautiful, it's quiet eeriness and knowing look. The two crows, in the forest, sharing the heart made of leaves completely has me - it may be because I have just moved in with my love, but I can't help but think what a perfect home-warming or engagement gift it would make... I know I for one am itching to purchase one for us!!

Please do be sure to stop by Ryan's wonderful store where I am sure you will all find some beautiful work of art to fall in love with...


Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Stop motion gastronomy...

Whilst browsing the archives of fantastic food blog, "Serious Eats", I found this short, stop motion animation clip by French artist, Alexandre Dubosc.

I always find something slightly sinister about stop motion animation...a creepiness in the slightly disjointed, awkward movements of the items being animated (redolent of the final scene of "The Ring", possibly) that unsettles me (something used to superb effect in the work of Jan Švankmajer...someone who i'm sure i'll blog about soon!).

Anyway, this short film was made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Annecy International Animated Films Festival, and features my favourite thing- Cake!*

Enjoy! ;)

*(edit) I've just been informed that cake is my SECOND favourite thing...after Abi, of course!


Monday, 10 May 2010

Take-Away Food...

Out shopping today, running a few errands in the middle of unpacking all of Abi's boxes (her whole life ensconced in cardboard!)...not that we were procrastinating or anything like that *giggle*... we found these fantastic bento boxes from the company Aladdin.

They're so funky and useful, we almost wished we didn't work at home so we could make full use of them! Available in all sorts of colours and, according to google, all over the place- I can't believe we've never seen them before!


Saturday, 8 May 2010

Double Dipping!

A short while ago, Abi and I were wandering around the Denby shop, fantasizing about all the gorgeous china we would have when we became rich and famous! Each Denby item is still entirely handmade, making every mug, plate and jug a unique work of art...and, after much deliberation over which of the massive selection of gorgeous glazes and patterns we would have, we noticed these beautiful mugs hanging, slightly hidden, in the corner of the shop.

We loved them immediately, and now wish they had a full range of tableware, including the beautifully shaped "Curve" mugs, available with these gorgeous "double-dipped" glazes...I think our penny jar will be taking quite a beating next time we visit the store!


Friday, 7 May 2010

Pretty in Pink...

With my niece Lucy's birthday just past, and Abigail's mum's birthday in just a few weeks, our heads have been full of pretty, girly things perfect for pretty, girly birthdays!

These adorable wee peg dolls by Dainty Pastimes, fit the bill perfectly. Each little doll is entirely handmade and covered with the cutest of little details- little handmade cakes and sweets (the jars full of candy canes and lollipops are particularly wonderful), and the dainty sprinkling of tiny flowers resting at each doll's feet.

Available at Folksy and Etsy, and perfect for any sort of girly party!


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Hidden Gem...

I found the amazing work of Carly Waito via Dear Ada and was instantly enamoured of it...

As a jeweller, I think I am just drawn to the beauty of natural stones and I know Ryan is a total sucker for them, too. We have just spent the last hour looking at fabulous gemstones to set into cocktail rings - so Carly's beautiful paintings seem like an appropriate thing to share today!

...view her whole set of beautiful paintings here, and follow her blog here!