Real Homes: We think you might love this home…

This morning was far too dark… does anyone else think so? I woke up and thought “oh yes, it’s mid-September, alright.” Summer is too soon gone… but we are excited about the broodiness of autumn, and the wind of hope that the crisp air brings. New beginnings, we’ve said to each other.

In keeping with that spirit, it’s time for another inspiring round, as we swing by the home of Brandy Schuman. Brandy runs A Sensible Habit – lifestyle, interiors, stationery, all-round pretty store. She hand paints linen, designs, quirky rubber stamps, and comes up with great supplies for your party. Amazing. If you like pretty, colours, DIY, homewares, you have to drop by A Sensible Habit. And tell us what you think! Let’s see what her home is like now…


Brandy: “Our home is colorful and very FULL. I’m envious of homes that are more minimalist, but I’m accepting the fact that I’m a hoarder who loves color and pattern.

“There is a mix of old and new and lots of little things that don’t look like much, but are a memory trigger for me. A blue ball jar that belonged to my grandfather, a kitchen utensil that belonged to my grandmother, or a jar of sea glass from Italy.

“I like having little things around that remind me of certain place or time.”


“I recently invested in linen bedding from AREA and I’m in love. The bedroom has been the last room to come together and I really wanted to have a bed that I looked forward to crawling into. We still need a few pieces like a bedside table, but the crispy white linen sheets are my favorite.”


I want a lived-in, comfy home, where everything is out of place, but also right where it belongs. Our home was built in 1940 so with an older home the house dictates the flow and some decor. There are quirky layouts and small spaces that you have to work around.”



“I think about a relaxed environment for entertaining friends when decorating the house. Music is also very important. We have a vintage record player in the living room (shown under my painting near the front door).

“Apparently, I love chairs! We have several vintage chairs and everytime I thrift I usually see a chair that I want. I need a bigger home for all of my chairs. My boyfriend showed up the other day with 3 vintage metal chairs (pink, blue, and an orange one) and they are my new favorite. We recently put in a patio out back, and they are the perfect pop of color. He earned some major points.”


“Everyday life (inspires me), I suppose. There is color and pattern everywhere we look. I like to take a blanket to the park or go for for a hike. I love boating with my dad… Anything where my brain gets a chance to stop racing.

“Travel is always good for a recharge. As far as what inspires me in decorating the home… I guess I would have to say entertaining with friends, and the slew of gorgeous homes on pinterest. I like vintage shopping and finding colorful unique items. Bright Copco pans, vintage platters and glasses.”


“I like a lot of Midcentury modern, but also a kind of southern cozy home… big quilts, relaxed and inviting linen fabrics or a little floral pattern.”

“The wood bowls hanging in my dining room from Montes Doggett. They have display hooks on the back so I can store them up out of the way and take them down when needed. I also just got a new wood serving board from Star Provisions at a great price. I like that these items are functional and also work on display.”


“Glasses and bar accessories are (other) items I hoard. I could never have too many vintage glasses or specialty cocktail glasses!

“We also (have) a custom stereo cabinet that was built locally by South of Urban – it houses a record player, stereo, and cassette tape player. It’s definitely a favorite item in the house.”


Styling tips? “Vintage thrifted finds are a must. We have a few little shops here in Atlanta that are my go to spots. West Elm‘s recent midcentury collection was a great way to find a bed frame and rugs that work well with the look of our vintage pieces.

“Oh, and treat yourself with fresh flowers around the house!”

We think so too! Thanks so much for that gorgeous tour, Brandy!


For more of Brandy’s vintage-modern blend style, visit A Sensible Habit at


Images: Brandy Schuman


The Curious Shop Revisits The Hambledon… in Cowley!

Remember one of our earlier Curious Shop finds, The Hambledon? Well, they recently set up shop in Cowley, Gloucestershire! It’s a permanent store, carrying specially chosen lines and cleverly displayed to maintain the feel of its winning original store in Winchester. You can never have too much of a good thing, we think!

The store is located within Cowley Manor, stunning country house hotel and spa in the heart of the Cotswolds. Located in the stable block, between the Main House and C-Side Spa, the shop is open to hotel guests and non-residents Monday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

Hambledon at Cowley Moodboardthe-hambledon-at-cowley-launch-11 the-hambledon-at-cowley-launch-10 the-hambledon-at-cowley-launch-9 the-hambledon-at-cowley-launch-8 the-hambledon-at-cowley-launch-7 the-hambledon-at-cowley-launch-6 the-hambledon-at-cowley-launch-5 the-hambledon-at-cowley-launch-4 the-hambledon-at-cowley-launch-3 the-hambledon-at-cowley-launch-2 the-hambledon-at-cowley-launch-1

Have you been yet? Will you be going soon? Do pop in for a visit, and let us know what you think! Tweet your photos to @couragedash, or Instagram at @courageanddash.

The Hambledon at Cowley Manor
Cowley Nr Cheltenham
Gloucestershire GL53 9NL
01242 870509


Images: The Hambledon

The Curious Shop: Bonbon Balloons

Balloons! We love them! Colourful, floaty, dreamy, in all sizes and even shapes: Helium-filled spheres that bob along overhead, weighted foil ones in the shape of dogs, ducks, sheep to walk beside you, oversized cherry-coloured balls of fun to decorate weddings with…

Imagine how smug we felt when we chanced upon Bonbon Balloons up in North London – purveyors of helium goodness, provider of balloon couture…

Laura McCluskey photography
In Aug 2011, Rebecca Moyster left her full-time job as an Interior Product Developer armed with her background in textile design, and a desire to run a creative business. Before long, she found inspiration in Tim Walker images featuring very large round balloons – and Bonbon Balloons was born.

“I just thought it was funny how when you usually see or think of balloons you think old fashion egg shaped balloons in a traditional arch style,” Rebecca muses.

“I then thought about the concept of adding something beautifully decorative to the usually neglected balloon string. I immediately thought this could be customised to every clients theme or colour palette.”

All colours

Rebecca then spent months playing and designed lots of different garlands to use with the balloons. It was trial and error getting the weight of each string so it worked with the size of the balloon and helium pull.

It wasn’t easy, Rebecca recalls. “I had never inflated a balloon prior to starting Bonbon Balloons so I have a lot of learning and practising to do!”

Like all good creations, the confetti balloon came about by accident…

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Confetti shake

“The confetti balloon only came about the day before my first photo shoot for the website. I had been cutting up confetti to sprinkle on the floor in the images, and knocked a big bag of it off the desk by mistake. As I was picking it up, I thought “this would look good inside the balloon”.

“Three years on this is our best selling balloon type!” Rebecca reveals.


Since then, Bonbon Balloons have gone on to provide all kinds of joy and make all kinds of dreams come true. Apparently, a customer requested a proposal note to be added within his confetti mix (his girlfriend accepted the proposal!), and another has used the balloon strings to tie an engagement ring for his proposal.


“When we have worked on an event concept and design for months it’s the best feeling in the world seeing them in action,” Rebecca shares. “For our customers and fans, it’s great sharing these images on social media because it often inspires customers to find ways of using our balloons if they have an event coming up.”

Screen shot 2014-08-25 at 15.02.36P1060304photographer Nikos Gogas-1
“Balloons make everyone smile and feel happy,” Rebecca says, “and that’s such a great world to be in.”

We couldn’t agree more!

For more ideas of balloons and ideas of how to use them in your next soirée, visit Bonbon Balloons at


Images: All Bonbon Balloons (Rebecca Moyster) apart from first and last pictures: first from Laura McCluskey, last from Nikos Gogas.

DIY: Love

Hello all!

Courage & Dash has been a little quiet this month, but we haven’t forgotten you! We are about to head up to the Lakes in an hour, so the next time we write will be from there. Can’t wait, fingers crossed for sunshine. We are back with another DIY from Hello Pretty Much Design. This DIY perfect for this August bank holiday weekend – simple yet effective, and can be displayed boldly. We love it!


One of my college professors always had us going around searching for inspiration. We were required to find something inspiring or take a picture of something each day and then use it to inspire us on our latest projects. This became such a habit, that I still do it despite not needing to turn in my findings to my professor. One day I was walking through a craft store and saw a really neat piece of artwork for sale. It instantly gave me an idea, and I knew I had to create some artwork for our bedroom.


Today’s DIY tutorial makes use of a really fun product that I love to use: foam board! Foam board is so versatile. It can literally be used for about a million different types of projects. It works really well in for projects when you want to create dimensional artwork or when a lightweight product is necessary.  Today’s project can be created for any room or any occasion. It will work for artwork in your home or for a party decoration.



What you will need:

2 colors of foam board (unless you wish to paint it.)

A template (unless you wish to use your own handwriting)

Sharp Craft knife



Adhesive of your choice

Spray glitter if you wish

Note: Step one and two can be skipped if you would rather use your own handwriting. Simply draw out your word or words of choice onto one of your foam board pieces.FoamBoard_Art03FoamBoard_Art04

Step One:

First, using a document program or perhaps Illustrator, create and print a template. Or if you prefer, you can use your own handwriting. Personally, I do not care for my own handwriting, so I always use templates. They can be so easy to create. I created mine to scale, and then printed it to scale as well in reverse. Then I pieced it together like a puzzle and taped it into place. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect because you can always adjust it as needed.


Step Two:

Cut out your template using your scissors. Don’t worry if it is not perfect. When I printed mine, I used the quick print function so the letters were not quite solid, but it saved a lot of ink. It also didn’t print all the way to the edges.  Once your template is cut out you can trace it on the back of one of your foam board pieces. I find it best to trace a mirror image onto the back of the foam board so that there are not any extra marks or coloring on the front side.

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Step Three:

Using your sharp craft knife, cut out the letters from your foam board. Make sure that you push through both layers. Once you have cut out your letters, you may need to clean up the edges. I turned my letters over to view them from the front. It makes it a bit easier to determine whether it looks nice.


Step Four (Another Optional Step):

If you are anything like me, I can’t have enough glitter! I choose to use a spray glitter to coat the letters. You could also use spray paint to change the color of the foam board if you only have one color of foam board. Make sure that if you are painting the foam board, you wait until one coat is completely dry before adding a second coat.


Step Five:

Using the adhesive of your choice, mount the letters to the second piece of foam board. I prefer to use double-sided tape. Foam board is so light that tape is perfect for this project. I like it for this project because it’s easy and clean to use, and it doesn’t require time to dry!

Step Six:

Hang your masterpiece and Enjoy!



For more of Pretty Much Design, visit

Images: Renay Howey

Best kept papercutting secret… Part II


Hello! Thanks for stopping by, hope your week is coming along nicely! We’re back again with our next favourite papercutting artist… Ant Design! We love the quotes on both her print and papercut designs, which are great for marking special occasions with..


Kashmira Jhaveri is the creative mind behind Ant Design. Growing up in Hong Kong, she was influenced by the art of Chinese paper cutting. Although she spent years in the hospitality and catering business, Kashmira knew that her passions lay with designing and creating, and so when she moved to London and started a family, took the chance to train in graphic design.

Personalised wedding gift papercutVows5sisters

These beautiful paper cuts are excellent commemorative pieces – for weddings, births, birthdays… our favourite has got to be the above on that sisters are the perfect best friend! So true.


For more Ant Design, visit


Images: Ant Design

Real Homes: Visit Jennifer’s elegant living space…

So excited!!! The wonderful Jennifer Ashley of gorgeous lifestyle blog, Pretty Little Details, is showing us round her home today!

We met Jennifer on the blogging course we wrote about earlier in the year. Since then, her blog has been a source of inspiration for recipes (um, sweet & spicy maple pecans? Yes??), style (Sequins!!! Parties!!!), and lots more. Her photos are stunning – light and airy and full of life. We are hooked. You will be too.

Off we go now to Jennifer’s home!


The overall feel of my house is modern and glamorous. It took a while to convince my husband when we were renovating to include some of the more girly accents but we both agreed on a soft grey colour pallet with natural textures and touches of aqua. My favourite room is probably my office, because it’s so bright and girly!

Office 3Office 4

Office: Instead of buying a desk for my office, I opted to find an oversized dining table. I love that it gives me tons of space for whatever project I am working on, whether it’s blogging, sewing, scrapbooking… whatever!

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Bedroom: I think white sheets are romantic and I love these textured ones from West Elm. Because the bedroom is a space I share with my husband, we kept things pretty neutral with a few subtle feminine touches.

Living room 2

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Living room: I love throw pillows! They are such an easy way to update a room, and can add so much fun and colour. Right now, I’m loving these aqua blue quatrefoil print pillows (by Colin & Justin via Homesense) mixed with the soft mongolian lamb pillows (from West Elm).

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One of my favourite styling tricks is adding height and dimension to decor piece by placing them on top of stacked books.

Back entrance 1Back entrance 2Hallway 1Dining room 1Kitchen 1 Kitchen 2 Kitchen 3Master BathOffice 2Office 1


OMG. We love. There is so much in here to be inspired by – the pairing of deep colours and cheery pastels, the collection of belongings so artfully displayed, the use of pale, neutral interiors to expand the space… We love the large crafts table and the marble top kitchen surface. And those shoes??? Thank you so much, Jennifer, what a delight!

For more of Jennifer Ashley’s style, visit


Images: Jennifer Ashley

Best kept papercutting secret… Part I

Papercutting has got to be one of the best forms of art out there. What a clever thing, to create such intricate patterns and images with just a sheet of paper and knife!

Stephanie Hosmer hard at work creating papercutting art on a large scale + on acrylic (image: Miss Papercut)

We’re taking a look at two of our favourite papercutting artists, over two posts. We  were SO PLEASED to discover the both of them, because while we love Rob Ryan, we were desperate to find new artists, given that his work seems to be everywhere now (not a bad thing)!

First up, Miss Papercut (aka Stephanie Hosmer), whom we found at the Makegood Festival recently, after walking by her gorgeous Londoner quote on acrylic. We just had to take a photo of it!

london papercut
Image: Courage & Dash

That would look so cool as a feature piece on your wall, no? We’ve got a couple of papercut artwork on our walls – one from a Chinese artist (China is the art orginated from), and one from Mr Rob.

Here are some of our favourite pieces from Miss Papercut…


Stephanie has been freelance illustrator for about 8 years now after finishing a BA Hons illustration degree at the University of Brighton, and is now based in a little village in Kent. She lives in a converted chapel with a little mezzanine studio, which you can visit by appointment if you would like to talk through a commission!


We love Stephanie’s work – so delicate, modern, fun. Great if you want to hang new and unique art on your walls!

More next time… (and a clever DIY tutorial from Miss Papercut!)

Visit Miss Papercut at


Images: Stephanie Hosmer (Miss Papercut)