Wednesday, March 31, 2010

happy birthday!

Originally uploaded by dropstitch

So much to blog about, but so little time as we're off out for a birthday dinner with this lady. Hooray! Happy birthday, Bernadette! I will be back with a more substantial post soon. I've been very (well, quite) productive and got a great parcel in the post today, so have lots to share.

Friday, March 26, 2010

lavender induced madness

This is a photo I took of my desk about an hour ago. I have gone all production line and been making lavender bags. You can see a bag of completed ones on the left there and a pile of half-made ones on the right. I'm pleased to announce that the pile on the right has now been magically transformed into the pile on the left and all lavender bags are complete.

Ugh... I was getting quite close to madness for a while there. I've been squeezing in the various (surprisingly numerous!) stages of lavender bag making between shifts at work for the last week or more, so it feels as though I've been at it forever. I hope this batch will keep me going for a good while now... although obviously I also hope I'll sell out of them immediately! I'm still quite enjoying the smell of lavender (thank heavens for small mercies) but the pleasure does come tinged with a niggling hint of insanity and the fear that I may wreck the joint with one sweep of my lavender-rage-powered arm. Do you know that someone tried to sell me a (very nice) lavender bag at that market on Saturday? She's lucky to have escaped with her life, I tell you! I'm happy to be moving onto something else now and I think I will pick something with a bit of an instant gratification factor. I have a loan of a badge machine at the moment (thanks, Claire!) and I think I can hear it calling my name... Exciting!

I'm quite impressed with my productivity so far as I had a few drinks last night and am feeling a bit ropey today. (Am I allowed to describe myself as productive when I'm still in pyjamas mid afternoon?) We went to see Charles Hayward last night, who is a bit of a musical hero of Graham's. Now, there's an efficient and productive man - he sings and works samples and plays drums (like I had never seen in my life) all at once. I was completely agog watching him, which was a nice feeling. At one point, one of his drumsticks snapped and he kept playing with the broken one until he had a spare nanosecond in which to grab a replacement stick. If I could multitask and move my hands faster than the speed of light like him, then just maybe I would get everything done that I want to! I do think he's a bit of an anomaly though. There was a definite touch of the superhuman about him.

One thing I learned when I was out last night is that some of the art school buildings are going to be getting demolished, including the Newbery Tower where I went to evening classes :( The worst thing about it is that all the weaving looms are kept at the top of the Newbery Tower and it is very likely that a lot of them will not survive the move. Some of them are over 100 years old and are very fragile. You can't really get replacement parts for them anymore and the art school just won't have the money necessary to pay for the repairs anyway. I still haven't got over my weaving hankerings, so this news made me feel particularly sad. Are we all destined never to be set loose on a weaving loom? I fear so...

Well, it may not quite be the same a 100-year-old weaving loom, but the badge machine should still be exciting, so I will go and get started. What are you all doing this week? Any top projects on the go? Please tell!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

interesting fact of the day

Fisherman Jack
Originally uploaded by ashleyg

A man's beard will grow a nanometre in the time it takes him to put down his razor after shaving.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

all work and no play...

..makes Laura a dull girl, so yesterday I took the day off (not even any sewing!) and even left the house for a non-work/supermarket destination. Crazy, I know!
And what do you imagine I did with my day off? Why, I went charity shopping, of course! This little lady was my best purchase of the day. I found her in the very first shop I went into for a top bargain price of 50p! That was a very good start to the day.
I love her so much, I'm even sharing the back view here for no particular reason. I'm thinking of making a little felt flower for her to hold since she has a handy hole between her hands.
This pair are the other top find of the day. Please allow me to introduce you to Hope and Glory! Hope is the little one and Glory is the big one. (I should confess now that their names are not official as Graham doesn't approve and they were a joint purchase.) We bought them as loving companions for Pride and Joy.
Remember Pride and Joy? How could you not?! Possibly because I bought them before I even had a blog... Hmm... Well, Hope and Glory now live directly underneath Pride and Joy. It's poodle central!
Since I have been pretty shoddy at sharing any of my own photos here of late, I made sure I took my camera out with me yesterday. One of the best things about our charity shopping days is actually the journeys between charity shops. We always see something fun. This card always makes me smile. It's in the window of a nice interiors-type shop called Marie Brown At Home. One of Marie's friends (I presume!) knitted her this card to wish her luck when she opened. It shows the shop with all its "fab stuff" and a very enthusiastic Marie outside. I say this like I know Marie. I don't. Marie might not even be her real name... Still, it is a card of greatness and I think it is so sweet that it is kept in the window permanently.
Just as we had jumped on the bus for our second destination, we saw that a jumble sale had just started in this bowling club. Thanks to the beauty of an all-day bus ticket, we were able to jump off and go for a nosy. We didn't buy anything, but it was worth the 50p admission just to look at the old photos and trophies and marvel at the bar and the comfy seats. It must be nice to be a member of a bowling club... Just before we jumped off the bus to go here, I witnessed a young man nearly lose his life in a re-enactment of a 1980s road safety advert! He was playing with his football at the side of the road, when he lost control of it and dashed out from between two parked cars to retrieve it. His nose ended up about 1cm away from the side of our bus and the ball went right under the wheels and exploded with a loud bang. He wasn't very happy, but should remember that it could have been his head that went pop under the wheels instead of his football. You see, I paid attention to road safety adverts when I was growing up!
After the jumble sale, we hopped back on the bus and went to the charity shop mecca. There are five charity shops in charity shop mecca and we always get something in at least one of them. Charity shop mecca is also where we got the omnichord. Well, yesterday neither of us got anything for the first time ever, but I could quite easily have bought this cross-stitch (which made me laugh) so we won't dismiss the charity shop mecca theory just yet.
Another bus journey later, we realised we had time to stop off in the lovely Langside Cafe for a cup of coffee...
..and an empire biscuit. Yum yum. And I can confirm that treats taste so much better after weeks of abstinence :)
On our way from there to more charity shops, we noticed an art and craft fair was on in Langside Halls. There were quite a few nice stalls, but I didn't buy anything this time. Langside Halls was where I did one of my markets just before Christmas. The building is amazing inside and doesn't look like it has changed for years. Look at the lovely tiles! I didn't manage to explore much or get any decent photos when I did that market there, but yesterday we went for a wee wander around and nosied in quite a few of the rooms.

So, that was yesterday. And what of today? Well, I have not been as productive as I would have liked :( I have made two big pots of soup for the freezer and experimented with a prototype for a new product (which looks like it should work nicely) and completed a mini interview for Fifty-Two, an exhibition that some of my embroideries are going to be appearing in soon. (Click on the link for more details and to read interviews from other contributors.) That's all good I suppose and it's not even 7pm yet, but I have the horror of having to go back to work in the morning not having made anything to sell at the markets which are now only four weeks away. Eep! That is the downside of taking a day off the day job as a day off the hobby job... That's a bit of a tongue twister.

Graham has just gone out to the cinema and I have stayed at home in order to produce. I hear lavender bags a calling... Better go and get on with it - I wouldn't want to have missed out on a cinema trip for no good reason! Enjoy your Sunday evening :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ladies' night at the pool

I would have been swimming this evening, but it's ladies only on a Wednesday. No, don't freak out! I'm not doing a reverse Tyke Tiler on you... You're absolutely right - I AM a lady. Sadly, my swimming companion (who was to bring my swimming suit and towel with him) is not, so instead of swimming I am sewing. This swimming story is a non-starter really, but it seemed like a good excuse to share this great sign. This is not the pool I go to, but I do think my pool should get a sign like this. They could switch the lady on when it was ladies only, then everyone would know where they stood.

It was actually a little bit naughty of me to use a flickr photo to blog tonight (and to blog when I have nothing much to say!) because my own computer is alive again. Hooray! I got a new cable for it yesterday and it feels like such a luxury to know my computer won't die at a moment's notice when I'm in the middle of doing something. Also, it means I should be able to move my computer around the house again. I'm hoping this will make me a better blogger, but we shall see!

It's probably just as well the pool didn't happen tonight really. I am starting to freak out about how much sewing I have to do. Cripes! All my non-working time seems to be getting sucked up by people to see, places to go, things to do... Before I know it, a barrage of handmade-gift-requiring birthdays and exciting events will be upon me. I'm hoping the birthdays aren't ruined (lump of coal anyone?) and that my stalls will not be empty or...a bit rubbish? The horror! I'll get there in the end, it's just that I have so many things I want to make and I know some of them will have to be put aside for some other time.

Oh, I forgot to tell you the tragic news! It turns out I am allergic to embroidering! Don't worry - I am willing to sacrifice my fingers and thumbs to keep giving the world the gift of my stitching :) Talking of which, I'm going to get back to the sewing now. I want to get a bit more done before I settle down to watch Mad Men. Oh, Mad Men, how I love you. I also have Pointless taped from this afternoon and Masterchef is on at the moment, so great telly all round. Yes, Pointless is back - whoop! That is kind of exciting, but can someone tell me why they have changed the format and dumbed it down? I much preferred series one's high-brow format! Ha! OK, sewing. Cheerio!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

oh what a tangled web we weave...

Originally uploaded by *biggie
Hello hello. My computer is dead. Well, more in a coma really. My cable has finally given up the ghost after about a year of painstakingly miniscule adjustments, securing it with sellotape and matchstick splints and not being able to move my laptop for fear the cable wouldn't like it. No cable = no electricity = no computer. Waa! This is not good for me old blog, guv'nor, as it also means I can't access or upload any of my photos and what have you. Sigh... Anyone know how to get a replacement charger cable for a mac? I googled it before but had no real luck. I wish our local mac shop was still open to help me :(

Anyway, as I can't get into my computer, I am reduced to relying even more heavily than usual on other people's pictures on old faithful a.k.a. flickr. As I can't really share any of the crafting I've been doing this weekend (not that it was that exciting - embroidering a Frank and making Big Daddy lavender bags that I refuse to give up on even though no one seems to love them like I do) I thought I would share the other thing I've done, which was watching Mastercrafts. I got Graham to tape it for me while I was at work on Fiday night and sat down to watch it yesterday afternoon. It was the episode about weaving (hence this picture) and it was amazing. I've got a wee toy weaving loom that I love playing about on, but the proper looms were crazy technical. One poor girl couldn't even set the loom up by the end of the six weeks and, to be honest, I'm not surprised. The fabric the three people made was absolutely beautiful and it looked like the most satisfying thing in the world to do. Given the time it took, I think you'd have to give up all other crafts (and life in general!) to pursue weaving, so maybe it wouldn't be ideal for a jack of all trades like me... but I wanna be a weaver! The programme will still be available on iplayer and I really would recommend watching it. I haven't played with my weaving loom (I don't even feel I can call it that after seeing what a real loom looks like) for years, but I will definitely be dusting it off soon.

My ever so witty title for this blog post makes me chuckle whenever I hear reference to it. A couple of years ago, we were in Islay with my whole family for a wedding. My eldest niece, Kim, was only just talking really, but she would always sing as she was falling asleep. One night as she was dropping off, she sang (to a jaunty little tune) "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!" I thought maybe she was possessed by the spirit of Sir Walter Scott (well, it was a bit strange, you know!) but actually it turned out to be the moral song at the end of an episode of My Little Pony!

Friday, March 12, 2010

ooh la la la mer

Ah... The sun is out, the sky is blue.
Yes, the temperature is still Baltic, but let's get excited anyway.
Here's Francoise Hardy's cover version of
Somewhere Beyond The Sea.
The pictures are super cheesy -
just what we need to help us forget that it's still a bit nippy :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

back from the big smoke

This blogger went to London and all she photographed was this lousy tea and coffee tray! Yes, I've been away in the big smoke this week, at an induction type thing for my job. It turned out to be brilliant. The London office is much bigger and swankier and more exciting than its Glasgow baby sister and we got to visit all the different departments, some of which were absolutely amazing. The highlight was definitely the stenographer. It's such a bizarre skill to have and seeing someone press seemingly random buttons that allowed them to type as fast as they could think was just mind boggling.
We also saw lots of celebrities and I managed to go all paparazzi and take a sneaky pic of Jeremy Clarkson nipping out for one of many fags. Someone asked him for a light, which seemed to send him straight to the depths of despair... I guess if you make a living out of moaning, it starts to rub off on your mood in general. It's a bit of a chicken/egg scenario, I suppose... We also saw Christopher Eccleston (the instant we got off the tube, leading me to exclaim, "Oh my God! We're in London!") and Mark Kermode, whose quiff was immaculate, but who was carrying a surprisingly unstylish red rucksack. I didn't take photos of them. We also thought we might have seen the late great Paul Truman from EastEnders, but I think it was actually a lookalike. Talking of EastEnders, I found out that a colleague (I use the word very loosely as our paths never have and probably never will cross) of mine is a) in EastEnders at the moment and b) Bill Treacher's (a.k.a. Arthur Fowler's) son! I completely and utterly failed to maintain a professional degree of decorum and aloofness when I found this out. My small-town background was painfully clear to all the big smoke inhabitants, I fear, but this may be the closest I get to a real-life Albert Square connection, so I stand by my belief that gasping loudly and standing open mouthed and goggle eyed for a full five minutes was the appropriate reaction.

This was only the second time I'd ever been to London. We didn't exactly have much time for sight seeing (so it was quite fortunate that the office was slap bang in the middle of Celebsville!) but we did go for a wee mini pub crawl (very mini) along Portobello Road, which was fun to see, even at night. We also nosied at some fancy houses in Notting Hill. I was in full tourist mode, exclaiming loudly at everything - "No way! That car is plugged in and charging up on electricity!" and "No way! That looks like a giant's house!" and "No way! There's a chimney on the ground with actual smoke coming out of it!" I was just so impressed by everything really. I might have been more discreet if I hadn't had to get up at 5am to get to London. I wasn't designed to get up at that sort of an hour and I think my brain pretty much broke down.

Anyway, I'm back now and most of you didn't even know I had gone, so I shall stop harping on. I'll be back over the weekend to bore you with some crafty to-do lists. I have a couple of exciting markets coming up next month and have lots I need to make for them. Yippee!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

pigeonfinger - like goldfinger, only more pigeony

Originally uploaded by Luna_Be

I'm trying to tidy my craft/cat room (not quite the ideal combination, let me tell you!) this weekend. The room gets very messy, very quickly and it is a big job to get it in order. I think some new storage solutions would help. I pretty much have to pull out all my fabric whenever I want to find something specific and it's like something from the Krypton Factor to try and get it all back in the drawers. My motivation for the great craft room clear up of spring 2010 is that I'm going to be doing a market soonish (hopefully a couple of markets, actually) and need to replenish lots of stuff, so I'd like a bit of clear space to work in.

As you might have guessed, I'm procrastinating a bit, so thought I'd stop by to share this little embroidery I found on flickr yesterday. Isn't it great? I want a tiny pigeon to sit on my finger! Luna Be, who made this, has lots of things worth looking at in her flickr.

I love the thought of having a tiny pet you could carry around in your pocket, preferably one who could talk. I'm guessing I'm far from alone in that wish. After all, somebody came up with the idea of Polly Pocket already and I presume they did some killer market research...?

That's enough. I'm off to tidy now. I just have to keep telling myself that a little bit of tidying today will make a lot more productive time and space for creating greatness in the future. The springy weather is definitely helping get me in the tidying mood though. I even have some windows open! In our flat, this is quite an achievement as we have enormous and heavy sash windows, all of which are broken (in the sash mechanism, I mean, not the actual glass) and therefore almost impossible to open for weak girly types like me. I think my neighbours probably witnessed me getting a hernia opening the living room window this morning. It was worth it though. Fresh air! Ah, lovely! If a little chilly...

I just procrastinated a whole other paragraph, didn't I? Toodle pip.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

It's official

Originally uploaded by We Are Made In The Shade

At long last (two months, nearly, after the event) I finally got to see my wee feature in The Scotsman, or a scan of it at least. I am officially a "genius." Well, it's official if you look closely and don't blink! Of course, I already knew that myself, but it's nice to have it acknowledged in print for the rest of the world who might not have realised yet. Whoop whoop!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

in memoriam

What better way to commemorate your favourite recently deceased soap star than through the medium of stitch? Didn't I tell you I'd been busy embroidering behind the scenes? Every stitch in Bradley (from his ginger hair to his v-neck jumper to his squint smile) is consecrated by a single teardrop... It was great therapy after the trauma of the live episode!
I couldn't stand to have Bradley separated from his beloved Stacey on cotton as well as on screen, so I stitched her up too. Be strong, Stace! We love you!

I'm going to be adding these (along with the other characters who have been out of stock for a while) to my etsy (large only) and shopify (large and small sizes) shops tonight. I've decided to stitch on demand, rather than try to keep on top of having a few of each on the go at any one time. This does mean you'll have to wait a bit longer to get any embroideries you order (I'm thinking 14 days) but it also means that your favourite characters will never be unavailable. Hooray!

2010, year of the milestone birthday

We had a fun day on Sunday, hanging out on the red carpet (all five grubby feet of it or so) at the Glasgow Film Festival. Hot on the heels of the Square's 25th anniversary, Gregory's Girl was turning 30! To celebrate, there was a special screening with cast and crew (and their most distant relatives, neighbours, taxi drivers and dogs) at the GFT. It was fun to see it on the big screen and to hear people's reactions to the really good bits. As soon as Chic Murray tickled the first ivory (as illustrated by myself, above!) you could sense a little ripple of anticipation all the way up to the delivery of the classic line.
Here's that red carpet moment before the film started. Left to right, there's Andy, Gordon (the reporter for the school paper), Carol (who gets changed in the phonebox), Davina Belling (one of the film's producers), Dorothy, Gregory, Susan, Gregory's dad and Billy the window cleaner, who delivers that much discussed line, "If I don't see you through the week, I'll see you through a window."
This very special guest also turned up at the question and answer bit!

After Gregory's Girl, we went for some food and then back to the cinema to see Exit Through The Gift Shop, a film about the most bizarre man who followed around and befriended lots of famous street artists (like Banksy) and then set himself up as a street artist, trying to sell his work for six figure sums after pasting up about three copies of a single image that he hadn't even drawn himself... and succeeding! I don't think it's officially out yet, but it is really entertaining, so I would keep your eyes peeled.

Anyway, I have to go to work now (boo!) but I'm planning to come back tonight and share some new embroideries I've been working on, so don't be a stranger :)