Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm a pro!

I finally caved in and got myself a pro account on flickr. I was really missing being able to post photos there willy nilly and when my octowedding picture disappeared from view it really was the final straw! Now I just have to get back into the habit of adding photos regularly. In two weeks I will be officially unemployed (stress!) so it's good to be a pro something... Ha! Here's a little mosaic of some of my flickr pictures to celebrate this (not very) momentous occasion.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cut it out!

The last few months I have been really drawn to paper cutting and am quite amazed by the creations I see other people making. Remember Rosie Ferrier's paper cut octopus book from the Glasgow School of Art degree show? Sigh... I haven't really done any paper cutting and the tutorials I have read (e.g. this one by the fabby Elsa Mora) say it is easy/relaxing but make me think I would find it... more than challenging!

I dipped my toe (and I mean the tiniest tip of my tiniest toe) into the paper cutting water a few week's ago when I started my Little Red Riding Hood project. Now that I've completed the next stage, I realise I have to remake the trees using different paper as the colour is bleeding out of the one I've used. I wonder, given all the paper cutting inspiration out there, could I make it better? Would my lack of paper cutting skill hold me back? I'll let you know how it goes, but in the mean time here are some paper cuts that have delighted me recently. I've pinched these photos from people's flickr accounts but if you click on the links it should take you back to their photostream so you can find out more if you want to.

The flowers above and the cowboy below are two very different looking paper cuts by the same person: Heather Moore a.k.a. Skinny la Minx. Looking at these makes me think that maybe what I like about paper cuts is the way they look bold/strong but fragile at the same time.

Elsa Mora (who I mentioned above) is, I'm sure she wouldn't be offended by this, frankly obsessed with paper cutting but her obsession has led to pretty amazing results like this Little Red Riding Hood paper cut.
I've only just come across this one (again by Elsa Mora) but I think this is probably what I had in mind when I set out to cut my trees, believe it or not!
I wonder if this is as tiny as I imagine? I don't think it could be. Surely not! I definitely need to practice my own cutting either way... I think this is so adorable.

Here's a completely different style of paper cutting from Ani Castillo. I usually like art that plays with or adds to photos (not that I can think of any other specific examples right now!) but I think this one is particularly fantastic.
I love the way the creature is strange and looming but not threatening (more protective, I think - I love the way the child is quite oblivious to it) and the way it's made by cutting parts out of the picture rather than adding parts. Is that what people mean by using negative space? I'm not sure! To see the picture where I found it (in Ani's flickr) just click on the photo and it should take you there.

I also wanted to show you this leafy bird papercut by Joanna Rutter but it wouldn't let me copy the picture so you will just have to click on the link and be glad you did!

I'm almost excited now at the thought of having to redo my own low-end paper cutting of a few weeks ago. I don't think I'll be creating anything like these just yet though!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

everyone's a winner!

Originally uploaded by peterquinn5

What's the surprise hiding inside this souffle?

There were a measly five entries in the giveaway but all five were not at all measly in their insightfulness and enthusiasm - thank you so much! It was just too tough to choose one winner so I've decided to send each and every one of you a card. I'll get in touch with each of you so you can let me know your mailing address and send them out as soon as possible. Te: I don't know how to contact you so if you check this please let me know your blog address/email.

If you're wishing you'd entered (who knew I'd be so generous, eh?) then the good news/consolation prize is that there's a selection of my recipe cards now on sale over at Miso Funky. You can now also find my Dot and Pat notecards there. Go look!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'll be back next week to pick a winner...

squid-baby a.k.a. Angus in his even younger days
Originally uploaded by dropstitch

Just a short post to let you know that I'm going to Elgin for a few days again as it is my nephew Angus's second birthday and he is having a barbecue to celebrate. Hooray!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway (see post below) in my absence. I will get back to Glasgow just minutes before the deadline of midnight on Tuesday and will pick a winner then. The comments so far have been very insightful indeed so I may be unable to choose an outright winner... If it really is too close to call, I'll make a short list and pick one of you at random. I have been looking out one or two other surprise bits and pieces to include with the prize so get commenting for your chance to win. Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

time for a little giveaway!

Have you heard of Marguerite Patten? Coincidentally she was a guest on Supersizers this week at their 1950s coronation dinner. Marguerite Patten is hailed as the original celebrity chef, although she prefers the title of home economist. During world war two she worked for the ministry of health, coming up with recipes to keep the nation healthy (and satisfied) during rationing. She shared her ideas on the radio and then had her first TV show in 1947!
Now in her nineties (and with an OBE for services to the art of cookery) she is still writing cookbooks, making TV appearances and even podcasting! But what I know her best for is her box of recipe cards from 1967. My mum (and countless others) had these cards. I feel I have to make a disclaimer here and point out that some of the recipes have survived the test of time. I have the white vegetable soup recipe card (the original from my mum's long gone box) stuck inside the kitchen cupboard and my family have it as part of Christmas dinner every single year. It's yummy! But food (and food photography in particular) are victims of time and fashion and the cards' major appeal is how dated/retro the pictures look and how downright crazy some of the recipes seem to the modern mind and palate. I know I'm not the only one who thinks so - just have a look at this blog post and this flickr set.

Over the past few years, I've been keeping my eyes peeled in charity shops and have found a couple of boxes of these recipe cards, which I have literally dragged home - thousands of recipe cards are not particulary light! I have decided it's time to start sharing my treasure trove so I've hand picked some beauties and turned them into cards. On the front you can see the fabulously retro photograph of the dish:
and inside (behind the flap) is the recipe for you to follow:
so that you can delight, amuse or repulse friends and family depending on what the recipe is!

Now to the giveaway... I have chosen a selection of twelve of the recipe cards that I've made so far. As I said, I have thousands of these cards and I'd like to get some idea of which ones would go down well with the card buying public. Are people going to go for the look of the photo or the sound of the recipe? Are people going to choose tasty recipes or tasteless recipes? Will nostalgia rule the purse strings or will it all depend on the certain je ne sais quoi of an individual card? Or is there some other quality that hasn't even occurred to me?

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post telling me which of the twelve cards you like best (i.e. which one you would be most likely to buy) and why. I will choose a winner next week based on the usefulness of their comment, so make it good and tap into your market research know how! The commenter I judge to be most insightful will win their favourite card... and a little something else or two just to make me seem less mean!

Here are the cards:
1. Slimmers' Salad
2. Savoury Boxes
3. Bacon and Eggs
4. Prawn Cocktail with Soured Cream Sauce
5. Creme de Menthe Souffle
6. Danish Pastries
7. Hamburger Chowder
8. Chocolate Cake with Coffee Orange Frosting
9. Rose Blossoms
10. Ham in Aspic
11. Hedgehog Cake
12. Cheese Pyramids

Good luck and I promise I will dig out one or two other things to make the prize a bit more substantial! The giveaway ends at midnight on Tuesday July 28th and I'll announce a winner on Wednesday July 29th. Now please enter or I'll look very silly indeed... Thanks for your help!

Monday, July 20, 2009

a second hand cat and a popular bear

We went for a long meander today and a browse round the shops that hadn't decided to close for the Glasgow bank holiday. I'm not sure why Glasgow has its own special holidays. We decided to leave Helensburgh for tomorrow in case its shops had closed for the Glasgow fair too. Here are a couple of the fun things we spotted while we were out and about.
I snapped this picture of a cat having a nap in Relics, the most overcrowded but fun second hand shop ever. Can you see him there on the box? He was so relaxed but definitely a real cat - I saw him move his tail plus we had stroked him out on the street a couple of weeks ago. I love shops with their own cat.
If you're from Glasgow this is probably a familiar sight to you but, believe it or not, I have readers from all over the world (honestly!) who might be interested in this off the beaten track tourist attraction. This bear (Paddington?) is a permanent fixture in this first floor flat window on Clarence Drive and he changes his outfits to suit the weather, or the seasons at least. That's a sun hat he's wearing there. He's a very popular bear (I even heard Jonathan Ross mention him on the radio once!) and people send him postcards from all over the world. You can see his recent postcards displayed beside him in the window there and he gets new ones all the time. I did hear a rumour that the flat was sold on the condition that the new owners kept him on display in the window but I don't know if that's true or not. I kind of like to think it is.

Miso Funky Crafty Giveaway

Originally uploaded by mooosh ♥ miso funky

Just popping in to say that you can win these books as well as some crafty bits and pieces (ribbons, earring backs etc.) over at the Miso Funky blog. Good luck and all that but I really hope you don't win because I want the prizes for myself - cackle!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Got to start sharing those charity shop finds...

I keep buying things in charity shops and not getting round to photographing them, partly because I HATE taking photos of objects and my flat doesn't have the most or the best light. Today I tackled a lot of tricky photo jobs (more details on that mysteriousness later...) so I pushed myself to do one more and photographed these bookends. I got them in a charity shop in Elgin last week and I think they're very nice. However, they are destined for a life in the craft room where my eyes only will see them... Oh well, we can't all have taste as wonderful as mine. Hee! I've bought a lot of bargainous things in charity shops over the last few months and it's starting to stress me out as I haven't found homes for everything yet and the clutter of my life (i.e. home) is starting to clutter my mind. The mess is hampering my productivity, I swear! Books should be easy to put away but I think I actually need another (another!) bookshelf. Sigh...

I'm aware this blog seems a bit quiet on the crafty front these days but I have actually been quite productive. It's all part of a bigger (small) project and I want to do a drumroll and an announcement rather than give the game away in dribs and drabs. I'm hoping I'll be ready to reveal all soon and I'm planning a mini giveaway (I do mean mini but that doesn't mean it won't be good!) to coincide with or lead up to it... I thought I'd be ready about a fortnight ago but I keep getting distracted by fun days out and evenings in. Must work harder... That said, I think I'm skiving off to Helensburgh (including its charity shops... they're sucking me in...) tomorrow. Yippee!

p.s. My ice cream van gocco prints and cards are now on sale over at Miso Funky in case you're interested :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Originally uploaded by gobee

I love Michael Hsiung's mermen drawings so I thought I would stop by and share one. There are many more so you should go and look if you like it too. Right, off to be productive. Hopefully.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Yee ha!

A few months ago I got this dinky little ceramic cowboy boot in a charity shop for 20p. Graham was not impressed... I've managed to keep it in the living room since but I got the feeling it was living on borrowed time. That's why, tonight, I did a little revamp of the boot giving it a valuable purpose and a reason to stay on or near the fireplace.
Step one: I cut a little bit from the side of a box of safety matches and glued it to the sole of the boot. I also scrunched up a paper hankie and put it in the bottom of the boot so it wasn't quite so deep.
Step two: I put some matches in the boot. Voila! A very 'striking' cowboy boot (hur hur) and no more searching for the matches every time we want to light a candle. Graham is out at work but I hope he'll agree that this boot is now indispensable! Indispensable, I tells ya, pardner! Yee ha!
This picture doesn't exactly belong in this post but I wanted to share this very exotic flower that I snapped on the way home from the charity shops yesterday. Despite having a bus ticket already, we decided to walk home from the south side. This took over two hours and I was wearing sandals... Stumbling across this flower nearly (but not quite) makes the sore feet and tired legs worth it. What were we thinking?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm back!

I'm afraid this is as close as I got to photographing the sights and signs of Elgin as promised: some bagpipers in Forres on Saturday and a bee (with its very yellow pollen stored on its back legs) in my mum and dad's garden.
I had a busy week of charity shopping, car booting, eating and sewing, and spent lots of time in the role of Auntie Laura (splitting my time between reading stories, breaking up fights, playing hide and seek and carrying people - just the bigger two - round by their ankles) with this lot:
Kim and Angus
and baby Ruth.

They are all very sweet and lovely and fun but also HARD WORK. I don't know how my sister does it...
I also got to hang out with Patch who is getting very old but is still as lovely as ever. You might (or might not) notice from this photo that he only has three legs. He got one amputated when he was just a youngster after he got hit by a car. It didn't slow him down much (shortly after he lost his leg, he appeared over the garden wall dragging a rabbit he had caught!) but nowadays he is a bit stiff and spends more time relaxing and getting his tummy rubbed. He was actually our neighbour's cat but he was always hanging out in our house and moved in permanently a couple of years ago when the neighbours moved.

I got to spend some time with my parents, sister and brother-in-law too, which was nice, but I didn't photograph them :) My mum is my new favourite (psychic) person. Halfway through my visit she suddenly remembered she had bought me a present. She appeared carrying a plastic bag, saying, "You might not like it. I didn't notice what the pattern was until I got it home but I thought the neckline was very you. If you don't like it, you can take it back." I peeked in the bag and what do you think I saw? The horse top! How good is my mum!? I hadn't even mentioned it to her because I'd phoned the shop in Elgin and they told me they'd never had the top at all. Lies! Lies, I tell you! Ooh, I love a fun coincidence, I do!

I'll try to be back with a less random post soon - I just wanted to pop in and say hello.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

homeward bound

I will be leaving for Elgin first thing tomorrow and won't be back until sometime next week. I might try to blog while I'm there but I doubt it (after all, the very fact I have a blog is top secret!) so this might be 'au revoir' for now. I'm taking some Dots and Pats with me to sew (I am a woman on a crafty mission this week!) and, other than that, I'm sure my nieces and nephew will keep me busy. I can't wait to see them! I'm also planning a thorough tour of Elgin's myriad of charity shops - yippee! I'll try to take a few photos of some of the more interesting sights/signs to share here, like this optician's sign that I snapped last year. Elgin looks more and more vintage every time I go back and I haven't been up there at all since Christmas so my rose tinted spectacles should be fully operational!

Have a good week/weekend! I'll miss you, old blog o' mine...

Prepare for the cute...

I just wanted to share this amazing stop motion animation by Hine,
entered into Etsy's video ad contest. How good?!
Every time I watch it I spot a little something different. I love it!

After being up until 2.30am, nobody appeared needing a bed.
Except a tipsy Graham :)

bleary eyed and rumbly tummied

Originally uploaded by Ani Castillo

A random but cute picture tonight (this morning!) as I'm trying to entertain myself and stay awake. I've tired out my eyes and my fingertips by making zip brooches all evening so now I'm half watching QI and half browsing flickr. Why am I up so late? I got a phone call about an hour ago to say that my Australian cousin has been injured while in Spain and was flying into Glasgow because she couldn't get a flight to Aberdeen where my auntie would look after her. However, I just spoke to my auntie on the phone who says she may not actually have got on the flight but nobody can get hold of her so I'm just waiting up for a bit longer to see whether she appears or not. It's all very confusing and I'm not sure how badly injured she is. Graham is out with a friend who also may or may not be staying the night... I'm not sure where I'll be sleeping! And after all this, maybe nobody will need a bed here after all. I need a bed (yawn!) and a big bowl of spaghetti would be good. I'm starving!

In better news, my sister and her family arrived in Scotland today and will be staying (with my mum and dad) for a whole four weeks! Yippee! I'm going to see them on Thursday and am so excited! Under strict instructions from my mum (a.k.a. Turbo-Granny) I have prepared a big bag full of paper and material for Kim (my elder niece) to make more shoebox houses from.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

mechanics alive (alive-o!)

We went to the best exhibition ever yesterday: Mechanics Alive at Scotland Street School Museum.
The whole place was full of the cleverest mechanical contraptions that moved when you pressed the button on their case. It's amazing how much fun pressing a button can be! Some were super simple (like the guitarist and dancer at the top - one of my favourites) and some were much more complex, like these rowers - the oars, the waves the planes and all the bits underneath all moved.
This horse went round and round and the lady rider jumped over the pole each time she got to it and then landed on the horse's back again. I love the decorations on the base: "No zoo Sunday. Animals' day of rest."
These cancan dancers had the best stripy stockings and their... assets (!) jiggled around when they did their high kicks.
Look! There were loads and loads of them, every single one brilliant!
If you've read this blog before, you'll know I love freebies and this exhibition costs nothing (nothing!) to get into. I think it's on until late September so I will probably try to go again. You should go too!

more gocco goodies

I haven't been receiving any mail recently, not even junk mail, and it has made me very suspicious especially as a card I ordered from etsy got lost in the post and made me want to cry. Fortunately the card was from Gemma Correll (who I posted about once before) who turns out to be super lovely and who sent me a replacement card straight away (you're ace, Gemma!) and this time it made it! Hooray! It's going to be added to my wall of many wonders once I've been on a quick frame shopping trip to Ikea.

Coincidentally, I got more red gocco goodies from the gocco swap today too. They're from Australian Angie who has a blog called three red buttons here.
I love the strawberry gift tags. I'm currently trying to save a beautiful strawberry plant that one of the girls in my class gave me as a leaving present. It has been suffering the consequences of my thoroughly black gardening fingers... I might attach one of these to its pot to give it something to aim for!
Here's my initial in semaphore, part of...
... this bigger print. I love it! I've always had a soft spot for semaphore diagrams and even tried to learn it (and managed for a while but have long since forgotten it) when I was in the girl guides. Graham and I are trying to get rid of the bellies we've redeveloped this year so I might hang this somewhere in the kitchen. I know that's not what she meant by consume less but it works for me! Or maybe I should keep it near the computer as I have been buying A LOT of stuff (some very exciting, mind you) on the internet lately. Please deliver it all, Mr Postman!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

little red riding hood(s)

I'm still experimenting and pottering with my little (literally little) project and just made these two cuties. I think I am officially in love with them!

Just to demonstrate how little they really are, here they are perched on my teeny tiny fingertips: