Question: What do cheerful dancing skeletons, beautifully decorated skulls and artist Frida Kahlo have in common?

Answer: They all appear on Gosh! & Absolutely’s gorgeous range of Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ inspired lampshades, cushions and accessories!

Day of the Dead’ (‘Día de los Muertos’) is a Mexican holiday where people come together to celebrate the lives of deceased family members and friends. It falls on 31st Oct to 2nd Nov, and the Day of the Dead is technically the third day of the celebrations.  The occasion isn’t sombre or depressing; people gather at gravesides to reminisce, share fun memories and pray for their loved ones. They also leave offerings of food, candles and sugar skulls. Frida Kahlo was a hugely popular Mexican artist who is celebrated during this holiday. Sugar skull representations of Kahlo feature her famous mono-brow.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the ‘Day of the Dead’ directly relates to Halloween, given the time of year that it falls, and because recently it has become a popular costume choice for parties and trick-or-treating. However, it is believed that the celebration is Aztec in origin, possibly dating back 3000 years! It has evolved over time, like many celebrations throughout the world, to become the occasion it is today.

Although our Day of the Dead ranges will feature in our Halloween shop window this October, customers enjoy our lampshades, cushions and lanterns all year round. Our most popular seller by far is our ‘Baile de Muertos’ cushion featuring Alexander Henry ‘Baile De Calaveros’ and ‘Las Golondrinas’ fabric in Tea and Eggplant (aubergine to us Brits!). My own favourite is our new range of lanterns with gorgeous Calavera Sugar Skulls fabric by David Textiles.

Pop along to the shop later in October to see our fabulous display!

When our customers want a lampshade, very often they want it to match with existing decor or to complete the look of a particular lamp. We love to help by sourcing a range of different fabrics that fit a specific brief, to give our clients the opportunity to achieve a look that they will really love.

We were recently commissioned to make a shade for a standard lamp and matching cushion for the bedroom of a four year old girl. Our client, Joanne, explained that she really wanted something that would be bright and fun enough to please her daughter, but would also be suitable as she got a little older. Joanne had already decorated the room and painted the lamp base in a lovely teal colour. In this case we were supplied with a photograph of the lamp in the room along with a favourite item, the stylish ‘LOVE’ cushion that was used for inspiration.

This gave us plenty to go on. We found a diverse selection of fabrics that picked up on different elements of the room using the colours and motifs that were apparent in the images.

After first narrowing the choices down to two preferred options Joanne selected her favourite and we create a bespoke 45cm drum  handmade lampshade for a standard lamp with a matching accent cushion. We think she made a great choice and her daughter looks pretty happy too!

Town v Country cushions

Town v Country cushions

We were super chuffed that so many people entered our Facebook cushions giveaway.  We had such a lot of entrants that we felt we ought to do a proper draw so we asked budding actress Scarlett from the Stage Stars Group to do the honours and a name was drawn at random on Sunday 10 May. Congratulations to our winner, Renee!

It was great that the competition achieved so many new page likes, but it was also really useful to see which pairs of cushions people liked best. You can get a sense of things when you go to craft fairs but sometimes it feels like people are just being polite when you’re standing right there in front of them! We offered five different pairs of cushions and asked entrants to choose their favourite. Our ‘Town v Country’ pairing was by far the favourite with nearly 40% of the vote, though it seems that many people thought it was a black and white pattern when in fact it is navy blue. Another popular choice was ‘Tattoos & Tea’. The least popular choice was our ‘Holy Cowgirl!’ pair, but the reason for this maybe because it was the only set not to be shown in the post before you clicked through the images. So next time we might only suggest four options! The cushions featured in our giveaway are available here from our cushions page.

If missed this opportunity keep an eye on our Facebook page for more giveaways…