Design Classic: Pia Wallen Cross Blanket

I was thinking of starting a little series on here about design classics. In a way I have already set the ball rolling with my posts about Ollie Eskell’s Cocoa Eyes poster, Welsh blankets and the Papa Bear chair. So I might as well add another tag to my collection and try to make my future posts a little more professional!

I am not an expert on design by any means, but I know what I like and I do like to gush on here about the things that I love! And if this gets me blogging more, then its all good!

If you have read my blog before then you will know that I am a big fan of all things mid century modern, in particular the furniture and the architecture from the period.

Today I am going to write about an item that was designed in 2011*!

I know, I know, shock horror, not an item from the mid century period!

But as well as being a fan of interiors from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, I also love Scandinavian inspired interiors. One of my design heroes is Anna Dorfman from the Door Sixteen blog. I love how she has decorated her house and apartments over the years. She mixes mid century pieces, with stuff from Ikea in such an inspired way that makes me want to paint all my walls black (which really wouldn’t work in my house) and copy everything she does! It was Anna who first introduced me to todays design classic the Pia Wallen Cross blanket. She is obsessed with it and owns one which looks amazing in her bedroom.

At first, I was a bit ‘meh’ about this blanket. You could take it or leave it as far as I was concerned. But over the years, just like the Eyes poster, it has really grown on me. It is simple, beautiful, graphic, neural and, in my opinion, has become a classic with its timeless design that works well in a variety of interior styles and will never go out of style.

It is eyewateringly expensive though. I would never pay 1888SEK (with the postage it works out to around £154) for what is essentially just a fleece blanket which my cat would ruin. I don’t care how limited they are and ethical the bloody cotton used to make them is! And dont get me started about how expensive the original Crux blankets are! I cant even bare to think about the cost of them without needing to sit down with a brown paper bag in case I have a panic attack!**

To be honest, I love them, but I don’t aspire to own one. I don’t think that it would fit in with my bedrooms decor. I am quite content to admire Cross blankets from afar on blogs and Pinterest. I would much rather a Welsh blanket. One day I will find one cheap in a charity shop. A girl can dream eh!

Click on all images for links to the original posts and credits to photographers and sources.

Image from sugarandcloth.com

Image from sugarandcloth.com

Image from myscandinavianhome.blogspot.co.uk

Image from myscandinavianhome.blogspot.co.uk

image from myscandinavianhome.blogspot.co.uk

image from myscandinavianhome.blogspot.co.uk

Image from littlebigbell.com

Image from littlebigbell.com

And two images of the original Crux blanket from Pia Wallen

Image from housetohome.co.uk

Image from housetohome.co.uk

Image from myscandiavianhome.blogspot.co.uk

Image from myscandiavianhome.blogspot.co.uk

However, there is a way of owning a bit of Swedish cross action without needing to remorgage your home. This cushion from Ikea is similar in style. Ok not really, but it is monochrome, Swedish and kind of a cross pattern! I own this cushion and am very fond of it for its easy on the eye pattern. It blends well in so many different interior settings. (Read that as this cushion is everywhere as pretty much everyone owns one. However, it always looks good!)

The Stockholm cushion. Image from Ikea.com

The Stockholm cushion. Image from Ikea.com

Our sofa with our Ikea cushion

Our sofa with our Ikea cushion

Image from emmas.blogg.se. I love everything about this photo! The Marrimekko bowl on the coffee table, the Eames bird, the cheeky WG vase and Hornsea plant pot peeking out in the corners!

Image from emmas.blogg.se. I love everything about this photo! The Marimekko bowl on the coffee table, the Eames bird, the cheeky WG vase and the Hornsea plant pot peeking out on the edges!

*The original Crux Blanket was designed in 1999. The cheaper Cross blanket with the smaller crosses was launched in 2011.
**£774.80 before postage if you are interested.

Happy 3rd Birthday To My Blog!

Wow, who da thought it eh? Using My Loaf is three years old today!

Its been a good three years, and on the whole still I love blogging and blogs in general. Yeah, wider read blogs are changing with more sponsored content on them and all the rest, but if you look further there are still plenty of genuine blogs about peoples lives, interests and passions, all written in a well informed way, with beautiful photography.

And then theres mine!

Nah, I jest! I like my blog and I am happy with it. Proud of it even. My blog might not win any awards for layout and design (still waiting for my coding wiz OH to spruce it up) and I might not be the best writer, nor am I educated to university level, heck, not even grammar school level! But the main thing is that I try my best. Blog posts do take time and effort, and I take an average of 18 proof reads before I am happy that my posts are relatively readable and make any kind of sense. And then I still edit them again after publishing!

Its always amature hour on my blog eh! Sometimes I will read a brilliant post from another blogger and think why do I even bother? Even the comments readers leave on their post are so well written and intelligent, that I feel a right numnuts joining in with my little blurb with kisses on the end and bad punctuation!

But I think its the thought that counts when it comes to comments, they are nice to receive and this year I have vowed to up my game and leave more (even if mine do sound a bit divvy!)

Moving forward into my next year of blogging, I have a lot of ideas that I want to utilise on here. Maybe a few new features? More photos? More mid century? Who Knows?

Lets just see how things pan out. I might not have a schedule, target audience or want to make money and score freebies from blogging, but the one thing that I can promise is that things will always be real on here. I don’t write life changing stuff, nor do I get too controversial, opinionated, political, review stuff or write wise owl advice type posts on how you should be thinking and acting (who cares about my opinion anyway?).

Its just me and my life which is so average it hurts. I am cool with that though. I always joke about how no one reads my blog, but I like the fact that I have a small audience. I am actually quite a private person, who then shares stuff online (go figure?) I try to write about the best and most random stuff that makes me happy and hope to continue doing so for many more years!

Vegetable Cobbler

As promised here is a recipe. Finally!

As I have mentioned before, I love cooking and trying out new recipes. I am currently compiling a recipe folder (a never ending project that I have been working on for about six years) and I find most of my favourite recipes from magazines, blogs, the Good Food website and sometimes written in cheap non-celebrity-chef recipe books.

I have a habit of flicking through recipe books in charity shops and discount bookstores, and if anything catches my eye, I will purchase the book, copy down or scan the recipe, then donate it back to charity once I have finished with it. Although I have been known to tear a few pages out of cheap books when I am feeling lazy! Sorry to all book lovers out there!

I found this recipe for vegetable cobbler in a book that was 99p from The Works called Cookery for Beginners. The recipe caught my eye because the sauce involved yogurt, orange juice and milk.

I thought to myself – how can that work? I figured that it would either result in one of the worst things I have ever eaten, or go the completely other way and result in something really rather tasty!

cobblers

Thankfully through some kind of cookery alchemy, it turned out to be the latter – a really hearty, yummy dinner. The first time I made this I was gobsmacked as Rob asked for seconds (there were none) and then asked if he could have it for dinner again the next day!

Result! Its not often I hear this kind of praise about my cooking from him. And least of all about a meal that does not involve any meat! So me, being the perfect stepford wife, dutifully made it for him again the following week. The first time I made this I halved the original recipe. The second time I made it, I made two thirds of the stew (so we could have seconds – oink, oink!) with the cobbler mix halved and I did not have any courgettes.

Are you still with me? The point is that this recipe is very forgiving. You can adjust it to your own taste. More sauce? Thats fine. Lots of carrots and leeks but no courgette? No problem. It all goes down the same way I say. And who can be bothered with weighing vegetables? Not me thats for sure.cobblers again
Anyways here is the original recipe that serves 4 that you can adjust to your households appetite –

Ingredients

1 large onion
225g leeks
450g carrots
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
225g courgettes
25g butter
1 tbsp oil
25g plain flour
2 tsp mustard (I used around 2 tbsp of mild Dijon mustard. It was all I had in the fridge)
150ml orange juice
300ml milk
150ml natural yogurt

Scone Topping
225g self raising flour
1 tsp mustard powder (I used 1 tsp of readymade Dijon again)
50g margarine
75g grated cheddar cheese
150ml milk

Directions

  1. Chop the veg. Leeks into 2cm chunks. Carrots into 5mm slices. Peppers and courgettes into 1cm chunks or there about. (Or just chop your veg that you have guesstimated the weight of into tiny bits and hope for the best like I do!)
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a pan over medium heat, add the veg and fry it for around 10mins until softened, then sprinkle over the flour and cook for 1 min stirring.
  3. Add mustard, orange juice and milk. Increase heat and stir continuously until thickened. Then reduce heat and cover for 10 mins until veg are tender.
  4. Meanwhile make the topping. Sieve flour into bowl, add mustard and margarine and rub in until resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in cheese, then add milk, stirring with a knife to form a dough.
  5. When veg in pan are tender add the yogurt and transfer to oven proof dish.
  6. Roll out topping and cut into rounds (I can never manage this, I alway make it too wet, so I just dollop mine in!) and arrange around bowl in a circle and brush with milk (again, I never manage this part!).
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 220degC/425degF/gas 7 for 25 minutes until scones are puffed up and golden.

2015 Resolutions

At the beginning of 2014 I wrote that I wanted to achieve the following

  1. Read more books.
  2.  Plan meals better.
  3. Do not put things off. Just get on and do it.
  4. When it comes to blogging, I want quality not quantity
  5. Keep on losing weight.
  6. Bake more bread.
  7. Be happy.

I think on the whole, I managed to do this.

Well, except for #1, #5 & #6! (And #4 is debatable!) Opps!

So for 2015, I want to work towards the following (pretty much the same as last year BTW!) –

  1. Read more books – Unfortunately I did not read many fiction books in 2014. However, I did finally manage to finish the Game of Thrones books (despite a little mishap with the last two books!) These days I tend to only read one or two fiction books per month (hence the serious lack of posts about books on here). I read lots of non fiction books about the mid century period and recipe books from cover to cover. Do they count? And some of the GoT books were quite hard to read…. OK, enough excuses. Blame it on blogs, Pinterest, Instagram and the internet in general, the biggest time waster in my life!
  2. Keep planning our meals – I am slowly getting better at this. I write a list of meals for each week and a shopping list from it, then decide each evening what I will cook from the list depending on what I fancy, how tired I am and what time I have finished work that day. It makes me feel more organised and I like the flexibility this system offers me. It also stops me thinking each night “what the hell am I going to cook for dinner?” as it narrows things down to about five choices and keeps my cooking mojo juices flowing!
  3. Keep blogging – I am definitely going to keep on doing so and I need to get better at finishing my half written drafted posts. Last year, I went through a stage of thinking that its a bit silly pouring my thoughts out to the WWW and is it wise showing pictures of my home from a security point of view? But then I check my stats and breath a sigh of relief that my personal blog all about me is pretty much a personal blog!!  This year I want to write more about my interests on here, like camping, food, travel in the UK, Pyrex and mid century stuff. So this means that Rob and I need to go on more day trips, get away more in the camper van and I want to go to more exhibitions etc. This all depends on money and time, so lets see how things pan out. On a related note, I am going to comment more on the blogs I follow. I am not a Twitter networker, so I will reach out to fellow bloggers the old fashioned way !
  4. Finish decorating the house – We are so near yet so far! It is within our reach as we just have the spare bedroom, hallway, the last of the carpeting and flooring to do, a new front door, a window or two to replace and the interior doors left to do. Its all down to time and money yet again. However, we have lived here for almost 5 years now and they need to be done. The garden can wait!
  5. Keep on improving my fitness – I do enjoy swimming and long walks. And the cycling is growing on me! (All except for the hills, sharp corners and mud that is!) I might enter a London to Brighton type cycling event to give me something to aim for. Or I might not. Its all about being more active and eating as healthy as I can manage (as I will never quit sugar, go paleo etc – sod that) in 2015.