Sunday, August 30, 2009

Old Blue Hair (what a great title!)

Originally uploaded by Cate Anevski

Just taking a quick break from a job application (I reeeeeeally want this job but my brain is hurting so bad) to share this fabulous embroidery by Cate Anevski. I love it!

reunited with my stressed out hairy babies

Originally uploaded by gemma correll

We have been babysitting Graham's two nieces this weekend. One of them is terrified of cats so Poppy and Lola have to be locked up in a single room the whole time. The other one terrifies the cats by going in to play with them when there is nowhere for them to escape to. They've just left, much to the cats' relief! This picture (by Gemma Correll) pretty much sums up my feelings towards my Poppy and Lola today :)

Fortunately, Graham's nieces are very nice and we did have some fun. We went to the Dr Who exhibition, the transport museum and then the University Cafe for macaroni and chips. We watched the X Factor and then this morning, after being woken up at 6.20am (grrr!) I played numerous games of ludo while Graham indulged himself with a long lie (double grrr!). This was good as I LOVE ludo and Graham is usually too scared to play the master (a.k.a. me) at it. I didn't lose a single game today. In your face little girls!

Friday, August 28, 2009

where every cloud has a smiley face

Originally uploaded by one good apple

Not having a picture at the top of my blog was irking me so I thought I'd pop in and share this cute smiley rain cloud. Emily of One Good Apple made this, along with a zillion other gorgeous felt concoctions, in an impressive burst of productivity. You can browse or buy them in her etsy shop. I think I will need to take a leaf out of Emily's book and blog less to make more!

a cure for the common cold

Phew! I've been slaving away in the kitchen for hours, making pots and pots of soup to put in the freezer. I've made tomato and lentil, carrot and coriander, and curried carrot and apple. Curried carrot and apple soup is a miracle soup. What makes it so miraculous is its power to... cure the common cold! It really works, and it's good even if you don't have a cold so I'm going to share the super easy recipe with you. I'm not sure where it comes from originally.

Chop up a large onion, a pound of carrots and two apples (cored but not peeled). Put them in a saucepan with some sunflower oil and a good tablespoon of curry paste and stir them over a lowish heat for about five minutes. Add about 350ml of stock and simmer for half an hour or until the vegetables are tender. Blend until smooth. Put in another 350ml or so of stock, bring back to the boil, season and serve.

Ta da!

Sorry for the lack of pictures but I'm sure you can imagine soup and, if it helps, I can tell you it is a nice orangey brown colour :)

pint sized spider!

This is the giant spider we captured in our living room last night. Look at the antennae fangs! Aaaargh! I'm not officially scared of spiders but this one changed all of that. I actually got goosebumps looking at it. That is honestly a pint glass it's in. Massive.
I'm hoping we're not victims of a spider invasion... Graham accidentally dried his face on a spider that had been sleeping on his towel yesterday morning. I don't know if it was as big and hairy as this one. Check out its hairy legs. Shudder.
Even Lola the bug hunter was a bit wary.
This was as close as she got and she promptly ran away when it started throwing itself at the side of the glass.
Sorry for the rubbish/dark photos. Since our ceiling rose fell down our living room is darker than ever. It's making evening crafting very difficult (ow! my eyes!) but I managed to sew the backs onto 11 zip brooches last night. A new record! Today I have sore fingers and sore eyes, and another 20 odd brooch backs to do...!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

tiny cardboard models and a general update

Originally uploaded by Dan McPharlin

I think I first favourited these amazing models of analogue musical thingummies (by Dan McPharlin) before I started blogging so thought I'd drop in and share them. The detail is amazing. Have a look at this picture to get the scale. Yowser! Tiny!

I realise I haven't really posted about anything that I've been doing since I've been on holiday but I have been fairly productive. For example, I have been busy making zip brooches this week. I'm making good progress but think I will have to abandon my idea of a giant fishbowl full of them. I've only managed to make 23 (plus 11 for a wholesale order - woo hoo!) so far. They haven't even got backs on yet which is another 12 hours work or so... I think I'd need around 300 to make my vision a reality and that just ain't going to happen!

The other thing I have been busy doing is job hunting. I have recently gone from being officially on holiday to being an official jobless wonder and it feels very different and not at all good. I've found a job I really want (something that perfectly combines all my random qualifications - what are the chances!?) so I've been working hard on my application for that. I hate doing job applications. Boo. I want to be headhunted and let someone else do all the hard work :) I think it's the job hunting (or the lack of the job and the fear of starting a new one) that has been making me feel a bit poopy lately, but having a good one to aim for does make me feel a bit better, even if the chances are slim.

I'm feeling hopeful about the market that was meant to be happening at the Lighthouse, hence the manic zip brooch making. It looks like it MIGHT still go ahead as planned (that would be so brilliant!) but may have to move to a different venue. If it does have to move to the other venue, not everybody will fit in so some crafters may have to get the chop! Oh no! I hope I don't get axed... Touch wood! The Made in the Shade girls have been brilliant at keeping everyone up to date and forming contingency plans. I am very impressed!

Right, I'm off to indulge my daytime telly desires (it's the slippery slope of unemployment... oh dear...) and watch Pointless on BBC2. Have you seen it? It's a gameshow, a bit like Family Fortunes except you have to try and find the answers that nobody thought of. It's great! Honest!

p.s. I haven't forgotten the embroidered tree tutorial I promised to do but the cloudy weather is not making for good photo light in my flat. I will do it at the first sunny opportunity. Come back, sun!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

holiday part three: in which I get fed up of blogging about my holiday and squeeze the rest of the holiday into one post

(Photo: stone arrow found in Kenmore on the shores of Loch Tay, pointing at nothing in particular as far as we could see.)
This way, please, ladies and gentlemen, for the whistle stop tour of the remainder of Laura and Graham's fabulous Perthshire holiday! You may not be able to sense the holiday's fabulousness from this post but, trust me, fabulous it most definitely was!
This picture (cold beer drunk outside in a lovely rural setting) gives you the basic gist of the majority of the holiday. We spent a lot of time relaxing in country pubs, playing rummy and drinking pints. While we were away, I won nearly every game of rummy. Since we got back I have lost every game. The holiday magic is well and truly over :( Other frequent activities included staying in and playing Scrabble when it rained, going swimming most days, eating cheese and drinking whisky, and watching many a movie in the evenings.
We spent the first two nights of our holiday in Pitlochry where we 'tested our skill' in the brilliant arcade.
I lost track of how many 2p coins I blew on the horse racing... but it was great entertainment and I did win fairly regularly. I just lost overall... That's gambling summed up in a couple of sentences! I'm normally scared of gambling but I threw caution (and 2p coins) to the wind for the duration of the holiday!
If this old school menu outside the arcades wasn't enough to entice you (we went for the ice cream)...
...then maybe this crazy drug addled chip creature would? No, I didn't think so...
We went to the Hydro Electric dam and museum in Pitlochry, too, where I saw these giant electrical cables which I found quite lovely. We didn't see any salmon using the salmon ladder but there was a baby one bobbing about behind the window. Last year, we watched the salmon ladder for a good fifteen minutes before giving up, only to see the digital fish counter go up by one on our way out the door.
After Pitlochry, we spent a week based in Aberfeldy (home of the Highland games) where I spotted this fun sign for a mirror in the local thrift shop. I spotted a few good things in the thrift shop but resisted all of them (except one little book of Roald Dahl stories) because my case was already at the weight of no return...
The place we were staying had lots of ducks. This one came in to watch tv with us and thankfully did not poop on the carpet. I saw it poop quite dramatically on the grass so I really AM thankful, extremely thankful!
This duck had seven fluffy little ducklings.
This one had six even fluffier, even littler ducklings (which it was so tempting to pick up and take home) but on the last day, when I took this picture, there were only five to be seen... I hope duckling number six is ok.

We were also visited at our house by a rather large hedgehog and by a bat so we were pretty close to nature throughout! We were lucky enough to see lots of shooting stars during the meteor showers too, which was brilliant! I don't think we would have managed to see any in Glasgow with all its smog and light pollution.
We used Aberfeldy as a base to go on quite a few daytrips. One day we walked to nearby Weem and went into a really old church where lots of the Menzies family (the local nobility) was buried. It was a really creepy and strange building with A LOT of cobwebs, as you can see from the photo of the poor unfortunate butterfly above.
That's Graham leafing through the visitors' book. They had old visitors books sitting amongst the cobwebs that dated all the way back to the early sixties! It was really interesting to read through them.
We also took a daytrip to lovely Dunkeld and its neighbour, Birnam. It was really rainy that day and I failed to take any photos except for this one of the very unusual looking Birnam police station. I was too busy eating stovies in a cosy riverside pub (mmmmm!) and falling dramatically (and publicly) down hills, which I am still in pain from, both mentally and physically!
Our favourite place was probably Kenmore, a little village on the banks of Loch Tay. It is so pretty and peaceful and lovely. It was actually a scorchingly hot sunny day when we were there but these photos look kind of cloudy. There's Graham skimming stones, something I am very rubbish at.
Here we are (here our legs are!) lounging around on a little concrete mini pier that stretched out onto the loch. Lovely....
I'm not sure exactly what made this holiday so brilliant but I was ridiculously relaxed and happy for a whole nine days, just loving milling about, enjoying the scenery and taking each day as it came. The fresh air was a great bonus too! When we stepped off the train in Glasgow, we looked at each other with wrinkled up noses and said, "Glasgow smells really bad!" I've got used to it again already. It doesn't take long to become accustomed to the stench, I guess...

I did it! I finished blogging about my holiday! Hooray! Normal random little blog posts will recommence shortly :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

the oldest swinger in town

A day of sunshine...
South side charity shopping...
and spending time with the oldest swinger in town!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

goodbye lighthouse?

spiral staircase in the lighthouse
Originally uploaded by dropstitch

Did anyone see this in the papers today? Unless there is some sort of miracle at tomorrow's meeting, Glasgow's Lighthouse will be closing down this week! This would suck badly enough at the best of times (who else would have brought the Donna Wilson exhibition to town, to name but one reason?) but is extra bad news because I was all set to do a stall at a market there in September.

Sigh... This blog has gone down the pan a bit this last fortnight (I even lost a follower! I didn't even know that could happen!) what with being away etc. and I have been feeling a bit... er... poopy* which nobody wants to read about! Anyway, in an attempt to lift my spirits I applied for a stall at the next Made in the Shade market at the Lighthouse and, lo and behold, I only managed to get one! I was beyond excited - you have really never seen such a turn around in mood! I went into a frenzy of planning and making, designing new display methods, using masking tape to mark out the size of my pitch, coming up with new products galore... And now my dreams have been ripped from my tiny hands!

I expect the girls behind Made in the Shade are very resourceful so hopefully they come up with a fabulous plan b. Or, even better, maybe some wealthy individual with a healthy interest in design and architecture could step in and save the Lighthouse? Save the Lighthouse! (And save my stall! It was going to be the best yet!)

*I've just realised that sounds like I had diarrhoea but I only meant that I'd been a bit down in the dumps!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

holiday part two: more of the highland games

In this post I will try to squeeze in a condensed version of everything that happened outside the tent of crazy competitions at the Highland Games in Aberfeldy.
There were some roadworks that meant we missed our connecting bus to Aberfeldy and had to drink beer outside a country pub while we waited for the next bus. Nightmare! The downside was that we arrived a bit late and had missed the vintage tractor procession but the tractors were still there to be looked at. I liked this winning Ford. I'm not sure whether the man in the picture was impressed or not?
This winning Super Major was also very nice. I think it was pretty much the same tractors as last year. I remember taking a photo of this one then.
Sticking with the vehicle theme, this ice cream van made me laugh but the Oor Willie 'tagline' has always reduced me to giggles. Oor Willie, Your Willie, A'body's Willie.... Even the word willie on its own was enough for me when I was little but my sister and I always pronounced the a'body's (meaning everybody's, for those of you not from Scotland!) as a body's. A body's willie! Ha! Yeah, I think you probably get the point...

The actual games of the Highland games were great as usual, although they put the tug of war in a stupid place where you couldn't really get close enough to see the grimaces and vomiting, which, if you didn't already know, is what spectators want from the tug of war!
I don't remember seeing wrestling at the games before but it was a good addition and very entertaining to watch, although (or because!) there were quite a few injuries to the groin region...
Here's one of the competitors carrying the super heavy Menzies stone. A few of them managed to carry it a really long way this year, which wasn't much fun for the poor barrow pusher.
This stone is REALLY heavy so the barrow pusher (who is a man of average strength and not a super strong Highland man like the competitors) has to work quite hard to push it back to the start line over and over again. Plus the barrow squeaks, much to the amusement of the crowds. I think this man had had just about enough. There were lots of muttered swear words slipping in between his puffs.

I love watching the caber tossing because it's just so bizarre and old worldy. Not many of them managed to flip it right over but that just made it all the more fun when they did. There was a lot of ooh-ing and aah-ing from the crowd.
The terrier racing was much better than usual this year. Usually they attach a bit of cloth to an altered fishing rod. The dogs are meant to chase it back and forth but they always catch it within a second or two. This year they hired in the pros (who knew there were pro terrier racers?!) with a state of the art 'cloth dragger' so the dogs were chasing it back and forth for ages, doing jumps and all sorts. All the dogs from the audience were invited to join in and it was really funny to see how all the different dogs reacted. Sadly, there was no visit from the Drakes of Hazard this year (boo hoo) and the planned skydivers couldn't dive because of the heavy cloud cover. As usual though, it was a brilliant day! If you've never been to Highland Games I wholeheartedly recommend it!

If you liked this, you might want to read my post on last year's games which is here. You can see the Drakes of Hazard there too :) Plus my brain must have been less addled then because it's much better written that this year's account!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

holiday part one: the tent of crazy competitions

I promise this will be the most photo heavy (and obsessive type of) holiday post! As I said, one of the highlights of our holiday in Perthshire was to be the Highland Games and Agricultural Show in Aberfeldy, and one of the highlights of that is always the tent full of random competitions, mostly entered by members of the Women's Institute.
This children's miniature garden was the overall winner of its category. Yes, the miniature vegetable garden with its teeny tiny signs is adorable but I would have given the garden below...
... extra marks for originality and ingenuity because they used crisps to make the garden path! Ha! Oh well, I guess second prize is not to be sniffed at.

I couldn't work out what category this was....
... but it seemed to be creatures made of food stuffs!
This spiky potato won first prize. Was it a hedgehog or a spiky fish? I'm not sure but I know I like it!
This was the crochet toilet roll category, obviously.
This was the rather random garden party category which seemed like a lot of work - contestants had to make a fascinator, a shrug, an invitation, a menu and a floral arrangement! One competitor was heavily marked down for deviating from the given shrug specifications. Naughty naughty!
This was the hotly contested knitted 6 inch square!
The baking (including these oatcakes) looked delicious and was auctioned off for high prices at the end of the day. We just couldn't afford the coffee cake we really wanted...
Homemade lemonade. Mmmmm!
Lots of people entered the carrot and courgette soup contest but there was not one entry in the vol au vents category! Just a big empty gap on the table!
Some of the produce was pretty impressive, whether in its presentation (see potatoes above) or its stature (see marrows below).
It wasn't always easy to determine the judging criteria but it looks like size matters in the world of marrows!
Onions galore! Just because.

I'll be back with more holiday photos (including more - yes, more! - from the Highland Games) later.