Saturday, January 31, 2009

don't mess with diablo...

Originally uploaded by TADA's Revolution

I just came across this crazy cute talent via Penguin and Fish. Diablo is the slightly sinister character peeking through the bathroom window. In one of the other pictures you can see he is holding a tiny gun. You really must visit the otherworldly home of these amigurami characters at TADA's Revolution. So much fun!

everybody's talking 'bout those little boots

I had been eyeing up these little boot pendants on Linotte's etsy shop for a very long time.  She hinted she might not be making any more so I decided to get over my indecision and act now.  
I narrowed it down to two boots but couldn't decide between them so I decided to buy them both and save one for a friend's birthday.  However, I still can't choose between them and can't open or wear either until I make up my mind.  Noooo!  Would it be terrible to keep them both?  Yes, it would.  Must.  Part.  With.  One.

I bought a postcard from Linotte before and both my purchases arrived in recycled envelopes looking surprisingly stylish.  I would recommend buying a little something from her just for the experience of finding her lovely handwriting lying on the doormat!

Graham and I are going to see an exhibition about sailors' tattoos this afternoon and then I think it's going to be a day of washing clothes as it's been getting harder and harder to find anything to wear in the mornings.  Graham is on dj duty tonight but I think I'm going to stay in and do some work, tidying and making maybe.  Hope anybody reading this has a nice weekend.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Nice and spooky

Originally uploaded by mooosh

These cups are the fun thing I wanted to share last week. At new year I found a little jug and sugar bowl in this design in a charity shop. I bought them for Graham and he loved them so much he decided we should try to collect a set and started browsing the net for matching items. I could see thirty years or so of ebay browsing stretching out in front of us... but few weeks later I was nosing around flickr thinking how terrible it was that I hadn't got any ideas of what to get Graham for his birthday when I came across this photo and it was in Claire's photostream! Claire! The same Claire who was my best friend's teenage penpal and who now sells some of my goodies on my behalf! She had found these beauties in a charity shop and was planning to sell them in sets of two. I nearly shrieked for Graham to come and look, when my calculating little mind started ticking over and I sent a high speed secret email to Claire instead, asking her to please sell all six cups to me for a fair price. However, it turns out Claire doesn't do fair prices... and she gave them to me instead! We finally settled on a trade off of a mermaid embroidery. How lovely was that? Well, I don't have time to make a mermaid embroidery right now so I prepared a little gift package as a surprise deposit of sorts and went to meet Claire for the exchange when Graham was out at work. It was most espionage like and I felt like I was going to see a man about a dog! 

This is what I gave Claire in the meantime.

The Big Daddy lino print is what I had made for Graham's birthday but I printed lots of them.  Most of them (including this one) I printed on the patterned insides of recycled envelopes.  I like them and had forgotten how satisfying printing was, even with the hideous finger injuries and various bloodstains!  Graham seemed to like the one he got for his birthday too.  I might try to get a proper photo of one of the lino prints over the weekend.  The other handmade elements in Claire's parcel were one each of my collaged Dot and Pat postcards, a French pop compilation cd and a jar of Apes in Capes apple and tomato chutney.   The little plastic camera shows pictures of famous holiday destinations and I had to buy one for myself too because it was so much fun.  And, of course, there's the obligatory fortune teller fish.  No package from me would  be complete without one, although they have literally doubled in price in the last six months.  Twenty pence now!  Ha!

This whole coincidence made me so cheery.  It was just too perfect!  I found it so hard to keep it a secret from Graham.  I'm sure he must have been made suspicious by how excited I was by his birthday.  Still, I managed to mess up the day's entertainment for tradition's sake.  Ever since the time I took Graham all the way to Arran just to eat a picnic in the rain in a grey concrete car park, his birthdays have never quite gone according to plan....  This year I blew his mind (literally) with an unexpectedly hot curry and then failed to take him to see a film because the only seats left were at opposite sides of the cinema.  Thank goodness I had the top gifts to redeem myself with!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Golly gocco gosh!

Originally uploaded by inkdesigner

Oh my! After a week or so of shaky finger loitering on ebay (bidding high and breathing sighs of relief when I got outbid) I have just bought myself a gocco! Eep! I am so very very surprised and excited... but a little concerned at the life of bulb and screen searching that I see stretching out in front of me! I wonder how long it will take my new love to travel from Japan...?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Let's think about the living!

Matthew yesterday morning and I've been singing it 
ever since. Sounds of the Sixties is such a good show!  
You're practically guaranteed to hear something 
wonderful each week. You can listen to this week's 
show if you follow the link, should you be interested.  
If not, please just sit back, listen to Bob Luman and 
think about the living! Have a nice Sunday :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

something silly that made me snigger

Given that I can't talk about most of the itchily exciting things that I'd like to (not for a while at least) I thought I'd just drop in and share this picture that made me laugh.  I found it on some random comedy picture type website a few months ago but I can't remember exactly where.  Rick Astley... What a hoot!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

haunted houses and pro printers

Have you read this book?  If not, you certainly should.  I couldn't resist buying a copy for myself when I was Christmas shopping in the children's book department.  The illustrations are amazing and the characters and story are adorable.  Who knew you could find so many uses for pesky household ghosts?  Perfect for this time of make do and mend!  

I'm loving lino/block/whatever printing a lot at the moment.  Tonight I'm sporting two very painful fingers from my own attempt - my first attempt in a very long time - but I'm still itching to try again.  What's a little blood loss between friends?  Such is the price of art!

Talking of printing, I think I mentioned Willie Rodger briefly before but I wanted to share an image since I'm on an accidental block printing roll here(!) and the colours of this one are a bit like Kazuno Kohara's illustrations.
(Willie Rodger linocut.  Image from the lovely I like)

I first saw this print on the walls of Stirling University when I was (briefly) studying there.  I seem to remember (or did I imagine it?) that, as well as this print, there was a print of people in a gallery looking at this print.  I would love to have them hanging in my house.  Sigh...

If I'm prepared to sacrifice a few more finger tips, maybe I could create something nearly as wonderful myself.  Hee!  Tonight I'm wearing a badge that says, "I make cool stuff."  I'm wearing it partly for braggart reasons and partly to boost my ego.  It's such a fun badge.  I received it along with a decoration in the cake and pie handmade decoration swap and it was made by Bridget Benton.  If you ever happen to read this, Bridget, thank you for the badge and for the decoration - I love them both!

Wow.  This was all set to be my shortest post ever at two sentences.  Maybe this blogging business is starting to come more naturally to me.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

and another thing

That last post sounded a bit negative (it wasn't meant to be) so I thought I'd return and share a few little things that I've been meaning to post about for a while.  These foxy hairclips were bought on a Southside charity shopping day out just before Christmas.  Oh, I love them!  They must originally have had diamond eyes but now only one of the four remains.  I had thought about getting a few diamantes and fixing them up but I think I prefer them the way they are.
These little things appeared in my advent calendar.  This sounds like a lie but I had really been wanting a miniature sewing machine, honest guv'nor!  I love the colours of this one.  Tres seventies!  I included my scabby looking finger for scale.
I got this little object inside a Kinder egg years ago.  Sit it one way and it looks like a dog, sit it another way and it looks like a Russian grandfather.  I'm quite a fan of those two-way pictures, the ones that have two different faces drawn in one, and I think this tickles my fancy for the same reasons.
Check out my A-Team knitting patterns!  Purchased for 10p the same day I got the foxes.  The patterns go all the way up to adult sizes (if only there was a bit more time before Graham's birthday...) but I think I'll start with a small size for a little someone special, maybe for Christmas next year.  I think I'm going to make the blue B.A. Baracus one although the plain A Team one is pretty classy too.  Talking of knitting, I'll be getting a new niece or nephew in about three months.  Yippee!  I know exactly what I want to make (but I won't share it yet incase my sister ever finds this blog) but had better make a start on it soon - it won't be much of a surprise for the baby if it's not finished before I'm using a zimmer, man!  (Yes, that was a clue for those who have knitting know how.)  I am not a fast knitter.

Daytime telly

Lola has become a bit of a telly addict.  Her favourite show is Animal Park with Ben Fogle and Kate Humble (that's what she's watching here) but she also enjoys horse racing and snooker.  She spent nearly a whole afternoon like this last weekend.  

It's been a tough week at work for me and I am brain and body tired.  In my first ever P.E. lesson, I accidentally worked my class so hard that one of them ended up vomiting on the gym hall floor.  And that was probably the high point of my week!  I'm so glad it's the weekend and I'm planning to take a leaf out of Lola's book for at least part of the day... but maybe not with Animal Park.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


This weekend's outing attempt was an out and out disaster so... just as well I hadn't posted any pictures from last week's outing!  Graham and I went to the necroplis.  We went there just after we met but hadn't been since so it was nice to go back.  Everything looks so dramatic and I'm sure there are many more strange and wonderful things left to discover on the gravestones and their inscriptions.
Being so high up, you can't help but notice that you are right in the heart of the city but it feels like you're somewhere else altogether at the same time.  I liked the way the chimney in the distance started to look like one of the gravestones. 
These worn faces had names above them but I forget what they were.  I thought the man's hat was quite dapper and unusual.
These animal heads were round the doorway of what looked like a strange little house but I guess must have been a very grand family tomb.
I thought it was so nice and yet so sad and not nice at all that someone in the service of the Euing family was buried alongside Mr Euing and his... mother (I think) in such a grand setting.   I wonder what else there is to know about this family.  I'm sure there's a story there somewhere!
This plain headstone seemed so dignified and straight to the point.
In contrast to the simple headstones, this gravestone for a 19th century actor called John Henry Alexander  is suitably dramatic.  The inscription reads:

Fallen is the curtain - the last scene is o'er:
The favourite actor treads life's stage no more.
Oft lavish plaudits from the crowd he drew,
And laughing eyes confess'd his humour true.
Here fond affection rears this sculptured stone
For virtues, not enacted, but his own - 
A constancy unshaken unto death,
A truth unswerving and a christian's faith.
Who knew him best have cause to mourn him most,
Oh weep the man more than the actor lost.
Unnumber'd parts he play'd yet to the end,
His best were those of Husband, Father, Friend.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kitty goodness by Penguin and Fish

Have you seen these fantastic stuffed kitties from Penguin and Fish?  I love them!  Their faces are so adorable and I love the way she makes their legs - it makes them look 2D and 3D all at the same time.
I fist noticed Penguin and Fish when I saw these clay kitties on her flickr and they reminded me so much of Poppy and Lola and the way they act when we first get out of bed in the morning, all sleepy stretchy and waiting for their breakfast.  When I read her description of the photo, it turned out she was planning to make them the same colours as Poppy and Lola too (spooky!) so I made her a contact immediately as she was obviously a lady of impeccable taste...!
Here are some more of her kitties standing all in a row, looking a bit like they're doing the Monkees walk :)

Penguin and Fish has a great treasure trove of a blog where she posts (SO frequently) about artists who are inspiring her.   

Sunday, January 4, 2009


On Boxing Day, Graham and I went to Burghead with my friend, Julia (who wouldn't thank me for posting this photo of her but hopefully she will never find out - hee!) to see the annual icy cold madness.
Every Boxing Day for the last 23 years, people (this year well over 100 people) have jumped off one side of the pier into the icy cold water and swum across to the other side before climbing out to make the long walk back to the harbour master's office, all in the name of charity.
No such thing as tin foil blankets (or even fluffy towels) await these hardened north east types! Some people dived, some bombed, some flailed and one bellyflopped rather painfully. Most people just wore shorts and t-shirts but some people like these morris dancers...
... wore fancier outfits and danced off the edge of the pier. 

Graham and I decided to consider considering doing the jump in 2010 for the 25th anniversary but on new year's day we walked across a bridge over the River Kelvin and looked at the water.  Graham said, "Think how cold we feel.  Now think of how cold that water is.  Now think of jumping into the sea in Burghead on Boxing Day."  So I don't think we're considering it anymore.

Friday, January 2, 2009

breaking blogger's block

I think the whole new year thing is the cause of my recent blogger's block.  I haven't made any new year's resolutions (I mentioned before that I'm no good at making decisive lists) but I do have a few things in mind that I want to achieve this year.  One of them is to keep on bloggin' (not truckin') so I'm recycling some old photos, and focussing on two good things that happened today, in order to beat the 2009 barrier.
I made this little octopus last Easter while on holiday in Islay.  My niece was fascinated by it and loved it and its two octo-friends.  She kept carrying them around and putting them on the windowsill so they could see the sea.  She was still talking about them quite recently (which is a long time to remember something when you're only three years old!) so I decided to make her her very own octopus for Christmas.  In the rush for international postal deadlines, I didn't manage to take any photos of it but Kim's octopus is much like this one: it has a purple body and legs but has turquoise suckers and eyes instead of orange.  I spoke to my niece on the phone on Christmas day and she told me I had made her an octopus and that she had called it Kim.  I took the fact that she named it after herself as proof that she had appreciated her gift but today I spoke to my sister and she told me about this little conversation:

Kerry:  What was your favourite Christmas present?
Kim:  My octopus.
Kerry: And what was your favourite part of Christmas day?
Kim:  Opening my octopus.

Aaw!  Well, hearing about that little snippet made my day today!  Sometimes making handmade gifts can be so frustrating - they take so much time and then you do start to wonder if it was really worth it or if the recipient was just being polite...  Well, this time it was worth it!  I should mention (again!) that the original pattern for the octopus is by Futuregirl and is now FREE so there are no excuses for anyone not to be making these.  I can assure you they make the perfect handmade gift for three year olds!  Yay!

The other good thing that happened today was that I made another Pat embroidery (again, this picture is of the last one I made and not the one I made today at all but they are very similar) and I seem to be getting slightly faster at my stitching.  Slightly.  Slowly.  But.  Surely.  The lovely Claire from Miso Funky has said she is keen to restock the items she has been selling for me in her fab shop.  I'm really pleased about this.  Claire was my best friend's penpal when I was at school and I wrote to her once or twice.  This year I commented on one of her flickr photos and then realised who she was and got in touch properly.  My friend's teenage penpal has turned out to be such a fortuitous contact and she has very generously helped me to achieve my goal of selling some of the things I've made.  

When I think about it, 2008 was a great year of progress towards the creative lifestyle: I started this blog and (with the help of Claire) sold my first handmade goods.  I feel like things will progress even more in 2009 now that I've made a start.  I made a joint semi-resolution with a friend to have a craft market stall this summer and even the distant thought of that makes me very excited.  Now, if only I could summon up this sort of enthusiasm for my day job...

I did it - I wrote the new year post!  And I'm only cringing a bit...

(p.s. this new year's post on bugs and fishes made me feel very excited about the year ahead, especially when I looked at her older posts and saw how rapidly and wonderfully her handmade items had evolved.  Exciting!  I do wonder what I'll be doing by the end of 2009...  I think I have the new year thing well and truly out of my system now, thank goodness.)