Monday, November 17, 2008

Sasha the seahorse is free!

Originally uploaded by futuregirl_dot_com

Futuregirl (designer of the much loved and much raved about octopus stuffie pattern) is celebrating her blogaversary with some free downloadable patterns. One of the patterns is for this seahorse that I have been eyeing up for many moons. I just received my free pattern and it looks so good! I can't wait to try it, although I might have to wait just a little while... You can find all futuregirl's free downloadables here. I predict a worldwide army of supercute seahorses!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

If you don't see me through the week, you'll see me through a window

This week (while out on a training day for work) I managed to visit Glasgow Cathedral and took some photos of the stained glass windows.  My favourite window is the one showing all the different trades, asking you to give glory to God for bakers, barbers and bonnet makers amongst others!   The window is a modern one and very beautiful and the first time I saw it the everyday-ness of the sentiment in such a grand old setting really surprised me.  
This is my favourite part - the bonnet makers' and dyers' handshake.

Gardening is also praised highly in this window, as "the first of arts".

There is quite a lot of nautical imagery, like this poor drowning sailor:
This sea bird (an albatross?) is part of the same window:
I find it quite sinister but I love the image and the dramatic element of the statement. 

There are quite a few agricultural images in the windows too.  I like the style of the wheat bundles above.

These barefooted men are a great mix of blues with lots of dark lines.  I think the dark lines are what I like about most stained glass, though I'm not quite sure.

Feet and fish above.  I love those bony feet!

Feet and birds below, with great bird shapes.
There is something about a lot of the more modern windows that reminds me of picture books from my childhood but I can't quite place what.  Maybe Trubloff?  I'll try to post some pictures of the illustrations in Trubloff over the weekend.  They are so good.

This last window has another great statement.  
No messing about, just constant endeavour.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

bona fide action cat

What you see here is a bona fide action cat, the female James Bond of the cat kingdom!  Last night we were watching another dodgy seventies horror film when Lola started acting very strangely.  She was standing on her hind legs all meerkat-like and then she jumped up and sat beside me on the back of the sofa with wide eyes and ears pressed back, breathing rapidly.  After about 15 minutes of wild eyed panting (staring at an unknown object in the hall) she started doing her comedy saggy bellied attempt at prowling.  She refused to be distracted but we could not see what she was looking at.  I was brushing my teeth when Graham shouted that a police van had just pulled up outside and that the police were coming up the front steps.  I hate to say it but I thought one of our neighbours had died and Lola had sensed his spirit.  I had heard animals could sense death...  Ha!  I was horrified at the thought of our neighbour's spirit being in the flat.  Fortunately, our neighbour is alive and well (he lives to flood us another Christmas!) and it turned out the police were removing undesirable jakey types from our close where they had decided to set up camp for the night.  We hadn't heard a thing and I don't know how Lola knew something was out of the ordinary.  She stayed in red alert mode until the police van drove off with one of the suspects in the back.  The minute they were gone she relaxed and let us stroke her again.  So that is our super sleuth action cat, protecting us from untold evil every evening!

p.s. the photo above shows Lola in her pre-op days before her belly grew to a size that would prevent her from leaping between buildings like this... 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

i've been tagged!

A little while ago my talented Miso Funky neighbour Mimilove tagged me.  Tagged!  Me!  Just like a real blogger might be!  I still get excited about things that make me feel like a pro-crafter or pro-blogger but, in actual fact, coming up with a list of random facts about myself is about the hardest thing I could ever be asked to do (except to be asked to make a definitive top ten list of books/films/songs...  nooooooo!) but I have given it my best shot so here goes....  Seven random factoids about myself...

1. My Chin
I have a very... er... pointy-ish chin, of the sort an evil old crone might have.  It doesn't look bad in real life (I think!) but my shadow in profile can be horrifically witch-like.  It's slightly ironic as I was always concerned about having a full moon like round face (which has disappeared a bit in the great weight loss expedition of 2008) when in actual fact I should have been concerned about the crescent moon side view.  However, as you can see from the picture, my chin does make a handy spoon storage device.

2. Hammer House of Horror and Heebie Jeebies
Graham and I love 70s British horror films and the TV series Hammer House of Horror.  We have all the episodes on DVD.  (Why couldn't they have made more?  We always dream of stumbling across a lost episode that never made it to our screens but it's not likely to happen, we know.)  We had watched all the episodes and then started working through them again.  One of the best episodes is called The Two Faces of Evil but I was actually terrified of it the first time around and couldn't bring myself to watch it again, even though it was far superior to some of the other episodes.  I suddenly felt brave on Friday night so we put it on.  I really enjoyed it again but fortunately I haven't found that I'm too scared to walk down the street this time around!  The episode starts with a family picking up a spooky hitchhiker (above) but it quickly goes wrong when his evil nail (below) makes its first appearance.  It's a very creepy (and stylish) episode and comes highly recommended, as does the whole series which is sometimes camp and ridiculous but sometimes genuinely frightening.  I've always liked scary viewing but as I get older the way I get scared gets more... scary!  I get images lodged in my brain and think of them at inopportune moments and can't unscrew my eyes or unclench my teeth.  It's not so bad when the film has an over the top seventies feel but if it's a more 'serious' film it can really be problematic.  Has anybody seen Irreversible?  A very good film but I would not recommend that anyone watch it.  My life would be happier if I had never seen that film.  Shiver.  Mind you, I also used to get the heebie jeebies about the end scene of Jeepers Creepers and was terrified of having the back of my head touched in the dark...  What is this fact?  I think it's that I love horror (especially seventies horror) but I genuinely get the horrors at times.  I hope I won't have to give up horror viewing eventually...
3. Surprising Attractions
My ideal man has always been the slightly nerdy but handsome type, tall and intellectual with hair.  Louis Theroux springs to mind as an example (I nearly lost the power of speech when I met him).  However, while watching Masterchef last year, something strange happened...  Instead of finding Gregg Wallace's noisy scoffing disgusting, I started to find it strangely attractive: manly and visceral!  This visceral attraction has spread to include any bald man with glasses on tv, particularly if they have a connection to food.  Simon Rimmer is slightly too refined and doesn't have glasses but the bald/food combo does something.  Food critic Toby Young has a similar effect.  I don't know where this came from and it makes me wonder about the human mind.

4. Je ne parle pas le Francais
As a teenager I started reading French novels translated into English.  I loved them.  In my later teenage years I started loving French films.  At university I studied French philosophers and literary theorists.  I then fell in love with French 60s pop music (see the lovely Francoise Hardy above).  I love bread, I love wine, I love cheese, 90% of my wardrobe consists of black and white stripy tops...  But I don't speak French!  I did learn a little bit at school and have always meant to learn it properly but have never quite got round to it.  My sister (who had no interest in France and studied German in school) now lives in France and speaks French every time she leaves the house.  It should have been me!  Shouldn't it?  I should go to evening classes or something, it would open up a whole new world to me....

5. Laura Donald: Author and Illustrator
My number one ambition is to be a published children's author and illustrator.  I have created two books: a retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and a book called Aunts and Their Pants (pictured above).  I really like my books but I doubt they would ever get published.  I did a masters in publishing studies (a random fact within a fact!) so do understand there are many factors for publishers to consider, it doesn't just depend on how good or bad your book is...  However, I really think someone should publish me!  Sometimes I hang out in the children's sections of bookshops and spot all the books there that are not as good as mine.  I'm not very artistically talented (yet!) but that doesn't mean nobody would want to read my books.  I really enjoyed putting these books together so I probably will do it again one day, even though it is very time consuming and serves no real purpose!  Just to big me up a bit (and prove that I'm not the only one who likes my books) I will share the fact that I won a prize for each of the books.  It wasn't quite the Kate Greenaway medal (ha! not quite!) but it was a prize nonetheless and I did not even bribe the judges.  Publish my books please!

6. Mushrooms
I hate mushrooms.  This is really annoying because I'm a vegetarian (don't quiz me about it as it makes me inexplicably angry!) and lots of restaurants have nothing but mushrooms for their vegetarian option.  In my younger years there were lots of foods I didn't like but when I got older my taste buds changed and I either love these once hated foods or can at least eat them for politeness' sake.  Over the years I have hoped the same thing would happen with mushrooms but every time I revisit them I hate them just as much as I ever did.  I physically can't swallow them and just sit there gagging until I can spit them out.  I think it might be psychological as I couldn't even tell you what a mushroom tastes of.

7. Crows
I used to be terrified of crows.  This definitely started long before I saw the fabulous Omen 2 where a woman has her eyes pecked out by crows and then is dragged (with crow claws in her beehive) to her death under an articulated lorry.  My mum says I was even scared of crows as a babe in my pram.  The town where I grew up is full of crows and I used to walk around with my eyes half shut most of the time for fear their beaks would end up in there.  You could never be far from a crow.  However, in Glasgow I rarely ever see a crow (just magpies which I have to salute when they're on their own - I wish I'd never been introduced to that superstition...) and now when I go back to Elgin I find I'm not so scared of crows any more.  Getting a break from them seems to have cured my fear.  I thought it would work the other way.  I'm still terrified of caves, mind you, despite not having gone anywhere near one for decades. 

So there are seven stated random facts about me (as well as the, until now, unstated fact that I can get a bit rambly on my blog at times) but now I'm going to break the rules and not tag anyone else because I'm too blog-world-shy to do it.  But if you're reading this and fancy sharing seven facts about yourself then feel free to consider yourself tagged by me.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

And I thought my cats loved crafting...

Originally uploaded by The Dainty Squid

I didn't mean to be away for so long. Just to get me back into the swing of things, I thought I would share this picture I stumbled across on flickr. Hee hee!