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Guest Curator: Guardian Life and Style

May 20, 2013

by Guardianlifeandstyle

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Kate Carter is Life & Style editor for the Guardian where she has been for six years. When she’s not working at the Guardian, she is being bossed about by two small children – or running. The best Christmas present she’s ever received was a sewing machine, which she now spends far too much time trying to get to grips with. This has resulted in an addiction to window shopping for fabrics on Etsy.

While I dream of a lush garden and the green fingers to nurture it, what Chelsea Flower Show actually inspires in me is not so much a desire to pick up a trowel and some seeds as a penchant for big floral prints and fabrics. Here’s my pick of some of the loveliest floral fancies to be found on Etsy.

Liberty Florals

Liberty of London have been making beautiful florals in Tana Lawn for nigh-on 130 years and there’s yet to be one I don’t instantly covet. A browse around Etsy shows you just how wonderfully versatile the iconic fabric can be. A beautiful Peter Pan collar would liven up a plain top, and some fabric-covered buttons make a lovely addition to a child’s dress or coat – or even to your cushions. You can keep it more subtle, in a simple hair tie – or a make a statement with this amazing necklace.

liberty florals

[1. Liberty print peter pan collar by quirkybeauty 2. Liberty buttons by Hesafox 3. Liberty hair tie by DustyJo 4. Liberty fabric necklace by LesBijouxDeMarie]

Japanese Florals

I dream of a trip to Japan: I love Japanese woodblock prints, fabrics and design. Until my dream comes true, I’ll have to stock my house with Japanese prints – the gorgeous monochrome Florence Broadhurst-print cushion, fabric for the quilt I’m working on (and have been for years), a vintage kimono or a clutch purse – or a stunning piece of ceramic art in the form of a two dimensional kimono.

japanese florals

[1. Japanese obi clutch by ChakoTokyo 2. Japanese floral cushion by belljarinteriors 3. Floral kimono art by MarciasOrientalRobes 4. Vintage red silk kimono by zestvintage]

Peonies

I’ve never had any luck growing them – my fingers remain resolutely pink, not green – but I adore peonies. The huge flower lends itself brilliantly to prints or patterns – like these gorgeous notecards or this striking monochrome necklace. I’d love, too, to spell out my daughter’s names – or initials, anyway – in these personalised fabric letters – and the muted tones of this photograph give it an almost painterly quality.

peonies2

[1. Peony print fabric letter by UmbrellaShoppe 2. Peony photograph by hilaryupton 3. Peony necklace by mamaslittlebabies 4. Peony monogram notecards by juliaspoppies]

Washi Tapes

And of course, there’s always Washi tape. There is a Washi tape for every occasion – or that’s my excuse for my growing collection. From peonies, to Liberty print, to Japanese florals, there’s a tape to match virtually every plant in the Chelsea Flower Show itself.

washi

[1. Retro red flower washi tape by BigBirdsBoutique 2. Kimono floral pattern tape by theStationeryRoom 3. Peony printed washi tape by ThePaperParlourUK 4. Liberty of London fabric tape by craftyjapan]

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2 Featured Comments

  • Masselyn said 6 years ago Featured

    I discovered Liberty of London through my mom, and fell in love with it too. Such beautiful florals, never over done - always perfect! Great post on the beauty of flowers in our life, in so many more ways than just cut in a vase. Thanks for posting and sharing - now to go and stalk that Liberty masking tape. :)

  • VelvetRevived said 6 years ago Featured

    It's my dream to attend the Chelsea Flower Show one day! In the meanwhile, I am inspired by Kate's current favorites! Really loved the peonies as they reminded me of my mother's lovely pink and white peonies, with heads so large they would just droop to the ground! But what a lovely scent....!

39 comments

  • TheGlowingSkin said 6 years ago

    The kimono is a stunner. Great finds.

  • Masselyn said 6 years ago Featured

    I discovered Liberty of London through my mom, and fell in love with it too. Such beautiful florals, never over done - always perfect! Great post on the beauty of flowers in our life, in so many more ways than just cut in a vase. Thanks for posting and sharing - now to go and stalk that Liberty masking tape. :)

  • StillVintage said 6 years ago

    Love the peonies. The flowers and pinks and corals add so much happiness to spring

  • WhisperingOak said 6 years ago

    Flowers are always that nice touch to a design or to your decoration

  • cottonbirddesigns said 6 years ago

    Great article and lovely finds!

  • sarahmoon503 said 6 years ago

    I also window shop for fabrics, yarn, paper crafts,....and the list goes on and on, I love textiles! Loved the article, really pretty finds!

  • materialrat said 6 years ago

    Love finds! I adore the romantic Liberty necklace, it seems so sweet and fresh. I love florals if they're not overdone and in this case everything is perfect (: Thank you for sharing your picks!

  • auntjanecan said 6 years ago

    I love all these flowery picks.

  • StudioBotanica said 6 years ago

    Peonies are one of my favorites as well! Lovely finds.

  • VelvetRevived said 6 years ago Featured

    It's my dream to attend the Chelsea Flower Show one day! In the meanwhile, I am inspired by Kate's current favorites! Really loved the peonies as they reminded me of my mother's lovely pink and white peonies, with heads so large they would just droop to the ground! But what a lovely scent....!

  • pix1 said 6 years ago

    Wonderful finds. Love all the Liberty of London ideas. Some beautiful gift ideas, too.

  • richdon1 said 6 years ago

    Perfect article for a rainy morning. The sun is finally shinning today in New York. Now for a cup of tea and more Etsy reads.

  • camelliacollection said 6 years ago

    So Beautiful. Always nice to have new inspiration. And The Chelsea Flower Show would be an amazing experience.

  • LivingVintage said 6 years ago

    Gorgeous picks! I scored some new Liberty quilting fabric. Amazing designs.

  • ikabags said 6 years ago

    Nice finds !

  • lilyblueboston said 6 years ago

    Beautiful! I always gravitate toward floral prints.

  • GeorgieGirlLLC said 6 years ago

    Love the peonies and the washi tapes. Great finds!!

  • GracefullyGirly said 6 years ago

    Flowers can be enjoyed in so many ways and one of my all time favorites, besides the real thing, is floral fabrics. Love them too! Thanks for sharing thse lovely items.

  • cb80085 said 6 years ago

    really beautiful the peonies are my personal favourites

  • HandiworkinGirls said 6 years ago

    Beautiful choices! The Liberty prints are perfection, but peonies are irresistible, too!

  • DarkBluebell said 6 years ago

    Fabulous that Chelsea Flower Show time is here again with the English rain making everything so green! Beautiful items, particularly love peonies.

  • JillianReneDecor said 6 years ago

    Great finds Kate! I love the Liberty Prints!

  • Aristocrafts said 6 years ago

    Beautiful article! I usually like all the collections but one stands out and becomes my favorite, but in this case I absolutely love every one of them! Just gorgeous!

  • agebo said 6 years ago

    Love liberty of london prints. So inspiring. Great picks, thanks!

  • thelittlemarket said 6 years ago

    gorgeous finds!!

  • mattyhandmadecrafts said 6 years ago

    Flowerful!

  • JewelrybyDorothy said 6 years ago

    Lovely finds!

  • recycledwares said 6 years ago

    A great post for spring - reminds me of the flower garden.

  • realfaery said 6 years ago

    I agree, the Chelsea Flower Show is a great inspiration. Once I have visited it, I also invited my parents from Hungary. My dad is a forest engineer and doing landscaping. He never dreamt of seeing the show live in his life. So, probably ever I go again, I will remember my dad, how happy I made him that day:))))

  • ASParkerJewellery said 6 years ago

    I love anything Japanese! :D Really beautiful collection! x x

  • Britt7094 said 6 years ago

    A fantastic collection of florals. I have two addictions in life, paper and floral prints. Show me floral prints on paper and I'll be your best friend forever. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration. Maybe one day I'll own a kimono like that.

  • textilechicken said 6 years ago

    Lovely Liberty finds,just gorgeous,thanks

  • Nemki said 6 years ago

    How gorgeous! LOVE the selection.

  • disheveledideas said 6 years ago

    so glad to see Liberty fabrics and prints featured here. They are a timeless classic, but are just perfect for spring!

  • peonyandthistle said 6 years ago

    Lovely! Particularly love the Peony section!!!! We're big flower fans too....

  • annecorr1 said 6 years ago

    those notecards are heavenly. Lovely article, thanks

  • MirasBeadBoutique said 6 years ago

    What a great article! I especially love the inspiration from the Liberty of London section. I've had a long standing obsession with all things Liberty and use a lot of their fabric in my jewellery, too. Absolutely gorgeously designed patterns and such lovely colours, what's not to love about Liberty of London?

  • WeddingLab said 6 years ago

    Great article and gorgeous picks, thank you!

  • yogycreations said 6 years ago

    Beautiful! Coming from the Himalayas, anything and everything floral attracts me. No wonder all my creations are not just ethical/handmade but are colourful & floral :) Would love to be featured in one of those some day! :) Yogi x Yogy Kreations facebook.com/YogyKreations Twitter.com/YogyKreations

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