Saturday, November 27, 2010

news and weather

It's been snowing on me pom poms! Don't they look cute with their little icy hats on? I'm pleased to see how well they're faring in wind, rain, sunshine and snow. Hooray for pom poms! I've become quite addicted to ra-ra-fiti and actually had a twinge of panic when I found myself out and about without a wee pom pom in my handbag. I also found myself experiencing a wonderfully rebellious thrill one night as I fondled my pom pom and pondered my next ra-ra-fiti attack... while walking behind two policemen! Waaa! I told you ra-ra-fiti was street! I've sold two ra-ra-fiti kits this week, so hopefully more pom poms will start appearing. Keep your eyes peeled, maybe they'll be appearing in a town near you...

In other news... Well, do you want the good news or the bad news? We'll start with the good, I think. I finally managed to draw a tent! Woo hoo! I think I actually drew a really good tent, pretty much everything I hoped my tent drawing would be. Anyway, here comes the bad news. I just made my first major Gocco mistake (I knew my Gocco luck couldn't last forever) and printed the first layer of my tent backwards because for some reason I flipped the image before I photocopied it. Looking back, there were so many clues to tell me I was about to go wrong, but I stumbled blindly into the trap. I only printed 13 cards before I realised my mistake, but this means I have (gasp!) wasted a screen and bulbs. It's taking all my restraint not to go and self-flagellate. I feel terrible. When Gocco supplies finally run out, I will know that another print could have been created if I hadn't been such a moron today. I feel bad enough using up screens when they do go right, I always think there must be someone more worthy out there who could create something much more lovely/wonderful/worthwhile than I could. I think this print could be doomed anyway. I'm not even sure I have enough brown ink for the second screen. (Marc, are you receiving me? I need brown ink! No? Oh well, I will email you.) I'm working to quite a tight schedule and tonight's idiocy has truly scuppered my plans. My printer has died, we're getting our bathroom ripped out on Monday, my dad is staying for the week and I am working late shifts. None of this is very conducive to Gocco-ing, I fear. And did I mention I need brown ink?!

And finally... I have cricked my neck from coughing so much :( On the upside, I think I will have a six-pack to rival the wee one from JLS if my cough does not go away soon!

p.s. It is approaching midnight on a Saturday night and I am about to go and clean a bathroom that will be getting demolished in 36 hours. Is this really what my life has become?!

Friday, November 26, 2010

day out in dunkeld

I made it back in one piece from the wilds of Perthshire, though I encountered many dangers. The first near-death experience occurred when I had to jump off the train onto the extremely low platform. After witnessing my clumsy manoeuvre, the station staff brought out the safety steps for the other passengers. Other near-death experiences followed, mainly involving me slipping on snow and ice a lot. It's sort of traditional for me to fall over in Dunkeld (once falling quite spectacularly down a hill, bruising my behind and getting a fit of the giggles, which morphed into embarrassing sobbing) so I did well to stay upright all day.
The first top sighting of the day occurred before we had even left the train station, when I spotted this classic postcard propped in the window of a station building. Addressed to "Ladies who pilates," it reads, "THUNDER, LIGHTNING, TORRENTIAL RAIN, TRADESMEN WITH DRILLS, NO TELEPHONE, NO TV, NO SUN. Having a lovely time - wish you were all here! Love D."
As you might expect in a small town on a snowy mid-week day, lots of Dunkeld was closed. We did a fair amount of peering through windows and were particularly disappointed that the vintage shop, both antique shops and the amateur art exhibition were all closed. There was plenty still open though, including the most wonderful looking shop that was closed for the day when we were in Dunkeld over the summer.
Here it is - the Blue Magpie. Gah! I can hardly tell you how lovely this shop is. The lady who owns it is obviously very artistic and everything is displayed so beautifully. She sells lots of materials and kits for sewing, knitting and crochet enthusiasts, as well as a whole range of handmade loveliness and vintage crafty bits and pieces. We weren't allowed to take any pictures inside, but I wish we could have so I could have shown you her beautiful displays. She had loads of lovely old shelves and drawers and cabinets full of jars and bits and pieces. She had crochet hooks displayed in cute woodland vintage vases. Everything was just gorgeous. We spent a long time oohing and aahing, but I was quite restrained and only bought myself a cute pencil sharpener and a few buttons, as well as a ladybird yoyo to put in with my niece's Christmas goodies. Even Graham did not leave empty-handed and bought himself some wind-up tin toys, declaring that he "liked toys with sharp edges."
This textile heart-shaped wreath was hanging outside the shop and gives you some idea of how lovely it might be inside. Graham was in a strangely chatty mood (I spent about 30 minutes lurking awkwardly as he waxed lyrical about northern soul with one shopkeeper) and was practically acting like my agent with the lady in this shop. By the time we left, I had agreed to send her some images of my work and some ideas for a window display. Ha ha! The thought of taking over the windows of such a lovely shop is amazing, but I do feel somewhat under-qualified/out of my depth, so I doubt I will be pursuing it. You never know though - if I was struck by genius... ;)
After a good wander round the streets and shops, we went to the pub in the top left of this photo for stovies. Sadly, there was a bona fide stovie disaster. Since we were there last, they had changed the vegetarian stovies from broccoli and stilton to veggie haggis, neeps and... mushroom gravy! Nooooo! The one thing I simply can not, will not, must not eat is mushrooms.
Graham got lovely Cullen skink stovies though. How much more Scottish can you get? Perhaps have it with a whisky? Oh, look, he did. I had very tasty macaroni cheese. I think I will have to make stovies soon to help me get over the disappointment. I haven't made stovies for ages. Last time I made them, I went to a dance class afterwards and spent the evening blushing as everybody complained that somebody smelled of soup. Oh dear.
On the way to the toilets, I stopped to peruse the selection of photographs and was particularly taken by this one of a man cutting his grass with a scythe.
This sign outside the men's toilets made me snigger. After stovies, we walked over to Birnam, which is kind of the neighbouring town/village, but more like part of the same town. Even the train station is called Dunkeld & Birnam. Birnam is very well connected to the world of literature, being home to the Beatrix Potter centre (she holidayed in the area all through her life and drew lots of the local wildlife) and to the Birnam woods, mentioned in Macbeth (the woods that walk, as prophesied by the witches). We went for coffee and cake, then holed up in a local pub while we waited for our train.
We played darts. It was the first time I had ever played. I wasn't any good at it really, but was better than I had imagined I would be. Most of my darts at least hit the board.
After that, we played quite a few games of pool and put some songs on the jukebox. I lost every game of pool I played, but then I always do. I think I have won one game of pool in my life and that was only because Graham potted the black. The jukebox had a fun function where you could search for songs by the date they were in the charts. I discovered that Geno by Dexys Midnight Runner was number one when I was born. Anyway, we had a fun time (drinking beer and Canadian Club a la Don Draper) until somebody...
..discovered the (unexpected) avant garde jazz section on the jukebox... Oh no. Cue 20 minute epics with no discernible beat or melody and the arrival of lots of puzzled locals. At least Graham had fun, sitting in his comfy chair and stroking his imaginary beard and, to be fair, one woman did thank him for adding a touch of sophistication to the place. Ha!
So, despite the cold weather, lack of mushroom-free stovies and the avant garde jazz, we had a lovely day in snowy Dunkeld. The end.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Trip-a-matic 2010

Trip-a-matic 1960?
Originally uploaded by What Makes The Pie Shops Tick?
Graham and I are just running out the door to catch a train for an exciting daytrip. It will involve stovies, beer, shops and meandering. And maybe a cathedral and a browse of some amateur art. Yes, we're off for a daytrip to Dunkeld! Whoop! I'm taking my camera, so will try to photograph anything exciting to share with you on my return... in a few hours. Any trip involving a train journey seems more exciting and I'm hoping the stovies will help cure my stinking cold. See you on the other side :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ra-ra-fiti? It's street, innit!

Hey, peeps! Have you heard the word on the street? Ra-ra-fiti is the latest underground not-quite-criminal activity taking the urban landscape by storm. See above for proof! "What is ra-ra-fiti?" I hear you ask. The answer, hepcats, is simple - it's just like graffiti, only with more pom poms. You dig?
Don't get left behind like some kind of sad old loser. Want to be part of the zeitgeist, but don't know where to start? Lucky for you, someone (a-hem!) has created... POM POM BOMB, the world's first (and probably last) d.i.y. ra-ra-fiti kit, to get you started. Each pom pom bomb kit contains five long-tailed pom poms (a mixture of plain and fancy) ready to attach wherever you think they are most needed. The packet's ringleader wears a felt bandit's mask in order to protect his identity. He is probably the UK's most wanted wool-based criminal, after all.
Here is an artist's impression of that notorious street pom pom, the ra-ra-fiti gang's leader. Clearly from the wrong side of the tracks, huh? Don't mess with the best, because the best don't mess. Et cetera.

Still confused? Still not down with the kids? See the complex instructions above for the exclusive insider's info on the hottest new craze since the hula hoop...

Yes, attach pom poms to make things better!

Ready to get in with the in-crowd? You can buy your own ra-ra-fitti kit here!
Be cool. Peace. Out.

sandboys for sale!

Man, it is hard to sound cheerful when it's just taken you 40 minutes to upload your photos to Blogger! Is anyone else suddenly having their photos randomly rotated? Grrr. Anyway, I've just listed these new Sandboys gocco printed notecard sets in my shop. Yes, they are new notecard sets even if you and I both know I printed them months ago ;)
I'm going to add more Sandboys goodies (and hopefully some other stuff) soon, but this is your lot for now. It's a set of four single-fold notecards with envelopes, blank inside and ready for you to write whatever takes your fancy. On the back of the label there is a wee explanation of who the Sandboys are.
The other planned Sandboys products include prints, single notecards and hopefully notebooks, which I am off to attempt now (or maybe once I have put some finishing touches to the craft room). If you feel you may be in urgent need of one of these products and simply can't wait for me to get my fat behind in gear and list them (who knows when that may be, after all) then just get in touch and I can let you know more details/prices and do a custom listing for you.

In general shop-related news, it is with kind of a heavy heart (but not really) that I have decided to close my shopify shop. My year's free trial is over and it hasn't really worked out for me sales-wise. I feel I could have made more of an effort with it, but I think one shop is enough for me and (given I can go for months without a sale) I'd rather keep it simple and pay a small amount for each listing rather than a larger amount for the shop each month. Don't let my failure put you off though. Shopify does have some great features and I was really happy with how my shop looked/functioned, but I really didn't like using their blogging software (it seemed pretty faffy and time-consuming compared to how I blog here, or how I used to blog here before they started randomly rotating images!) and I think you would really need to be a constantly-updating presence on Shopify to keep people visiting. I also think you would need to be a bit more pro-active in your social networking, something I am not in the least, what with not having either a Twitter or a Facebook account. I'm keeping the shop open until just a few days before Christmas, so if you want one last wander around its jam-packed virtual aisles, you have a month left to do so. My etsy shop will remain open for business as usual, of course. Damn my box full of business cards with my shopify on them! Back to the drawing board...

p.s. I think I forgot to mention that I am now offering free shipping within the UK in my etsy shop. It hasn't made anyone buy anything yet, but it still has the added bonus of me not having to work out shipping costs and convert it to dollars and... I think I might be too lazy to be a shopkeeper!

p.p.s. Would it be wrong of me to have cake for lunch and then go out for dinner later? It's just that I think I'm going to :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I can't make an omelette

I actually am not very good at making omelettes, but of course you knew I was referring to that old adage, "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs." I've been on late shifts this week and have been trying to be productive in the mornings. One of my tasks was to rejig the craft room. The plan was that by today (my one and only measly day off, harumph) the craft room would be ready for me to go into uber-making overload...
Well, you can see how that has turned out. Yup, I'm in more of a mess than ever. Still, it is progress, believe it or not. The shelves in the top right of this picture are a new addition (to this room - they're pretty old and weather-beaten really) and I think they may actually change my life! So much storage! My craft book collection has overgrown the shelves in our bedroom so, much to Graham's relief, I am moving the whole thing down here. They'll be much more browsable and they'll be right beside my computer/scanner/printer station (see? more sensible progress!) so I'll be able to share them with you at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, Graham is post-work napping right now, so I can't get to the craft books to move them downstairs and I don't know how much space they'll take up on the shelves, so I don't want to go filling them up with lots of other stuff. Yes, progress is S-L-O-W. I'm finding lots of good stuff as I move things about though. Turns out I have books about weight lifting and water skiing (two more sports I've never tried) to go with those karate books...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

karate... chop!

A little while ago Emily shared her accidental clothes collections on her blog. I have an accidental collection of karate books. I don't do karate. Welcome to my world, tra-la-la! "Collections" like these are the reason my brain and house are such a muddle.
Still, when I look inside the karate books, I remember why I bought them all (and, to be fair, Graham is co-owner of the one shown above). Doesn't karate man look like he's doing a dance? "Arms back, leg up, arms back, leg up...." I want to bump into him at the local discotheque.
Grumpy karate men from book two. The pages of this book are not really this yellow, I just had to take the photo directly under a lamp due to severe lack of light in my flat.
Oh no! Kick to the groin!
This was my first karate book. It uses photos rather than diagrams. Check out this sequence!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

baby favourites

Our friends, Kristy and Alex, are expecting a baby today. Today!
That's not to say he/she will arrive today, but it's still a good excuse to share this hilariously cute (cutely hilarious) book of baby patterns I found in a charity shop last week.
Kristy's lucky I had my baby knitting done before I found this!
I don't think I could have resisted frilling to the max.
That red outfit is my absolute favourite. It looks like something I might have been put in when I was little. If I ever decide to have a baby, I will definitely knit this for them. I don't know if I'd risk making it for someone else, it's probably an acquired taste...
Check out the wallpaper. That's a very cute baby too.
Here's some more fancy wallpaper for you, if you can see it past all the frills and tassles, that is!
Even without real babies in, the pictures are super cute.
Look at the enormous bottom on this one. Aw!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

american tan

I am typing this from work so, as you can see, my wish did not come true and I got the call on my supposed day off. I'm stuck here all day and all night. Boo. Not only am I missing the X Factor (nooooo!) and tent drawing/pom-pom making/some other great Saturday night "entertainment" (nooooo!) I am also missing American Tan - see above. If you're in Glasgow and fancy a boogie tonight, you should definitely go along. I live with one of the djs and have been boogie-ing around the house all month as he made up his playlists. He has some good tunes with him, I promise! Go on, live for me! I may be stuck in this harshly lit office pretending I know Gaelic and cursing Noel bleedin' Edmonds (my constant companion) but you can be free and you can dance! Dance, young (and old) ones, dance like the wind!
ps Don't ruin your night out feeling bad for me either - I am off tomorrow and they can't get me then. Hooray!
pps I also just found out I'm getting the day off on Christmas Day! Hoorah!

Friday, November 12, 2010

I wish I could draw gooder

Originally uploaded by gseiwiarchives
I've been trying to draw a tent since August and apparently I can't. Not a good tent anyway. However, every cloud has a silver lining and while trawling flickr for inspiration again tonight I came across this picture, which gave me a little smile. How cute?

I used to be a girl guide and go camping. I even wore a special camp dress - a sort of blue knee-length shirt/slip with a belt at the waist. Guide camp seems like such good fun when I look back on it. We would gather wood and start a fire and cook on it all weekend. I suppose that's quite a talent really, making macaroni cheese over an open flame! We had to make pot rests with sticks to stop the grass getting burnt, tying the straightest sticks we could find into triangles using square knots. I know quite a few proper knots thanks to my time in the guides, not least because of all the time we spent making macrame owls. At the end of the weekend, we would scrub the Daz off the bottom of the pans in a nearby river (I think the thick washing powder layer protected the pans from the flames?) pack up and then form a line to scour every inch of the field for litter. It was such a good feeling to get home, get clean and sleep in your own warm bed after a weekend in a cold, wet field.

Talking of clean beds, I'd better go and make mine. I woke up this morning to find Poppy had been sick on top of me in the middle of the night. Not a fun discovery at 6.30 am. Euch! Plus my morning schedule is so tight (eking out every possible minute in bed) that stripping the sheets meant I didn't have time to have breakfast. Noooooooo! Goodness me, I'm tired this week. I'm crossing my fingers that I don't get called in to work tomorrow. I would love to have the day off. Maybe I could even get that tent drawn at long last!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dear Santa...

..Please bring me four of these house cushions for Christmas. I am not the type to spend £66 on a cushion for myself, but perhaps you are the type to spend £264 on four cushions for me? I know I have not been that good this year, so will settle for two house cushions if that is what you decide. They would look ever so lovely in my living room. Thank you very much.

Fabulous house-shaped cushion by fabulous Donna Wilson.

we're gonna make you a sta-a-a-ar!

One of my products is featured in the Christmas gift guide in the current edition of The List. I feel the epitome of cool now... or at least I did until I posed for these cheesy photos and failed to resist the urge to put myself inside a star!
Here it is - a Dot lavender bag. Yay! It's a shame they didn't pick a product I still make, but hopefully this means I'll sell out of the very limited stash I had squirrelled away for the now cancelled market. Apparently orders have been flooding (OK, trickling) in at Miso Funky since The List came out. I've just relisted them in my etsy shop too. Act fast to avoid disappointment - once they're gone, they're gone, guv'nor! ;)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

pretty (and tasty) flamingo

My trip to the Supermercado was fun, fun, fun. I had a good old nosey (it's looking good!) and people kept giving me freebies - soap, coffee, teeny tiny cakes... I bought a couple of wee things for niece/nephew Christmas packages and got a couple of cupcakes for Graham and I from Flamingo Bakery. I had been hearing good things about Flamingo Bakery and their stall at Supermercado and it turned out they were all true. Not only did they let me taste miniature versions of the cupcakes to help me make my decision, but they gave me all sorts of fun goodies along with my purchase - a sweet bag of sprinkles to decorate my own cupcakes, a Flamingo Bakery badge and pen, a pretty pink balloon, all sorts of sweets and a cut out and build cardboard cupcake man for my desk. They also provided this photo (not that they know it) as I was too embarrassed to take photos, as predicted. I got Graham a strawberry cheesecake cupcake and got myself coffee and walnut. Oh my goodness! They were both so insanely good. Graham is not one for excessive compliments, but he actually said (unprompted) that his was the best cupcake he had ever had. Yes, best cupcake ever! I think Flamingo Bakery have a stall at the Supermercado pretty much every week and it is worth a visit for them alone, although you will certainly see other lovely things while you're there too.

Just to continue the Saturday greatness, I have a fun evening planned for myself. I'm home alone (well, with the cats) as Graham has gone back to work. I am going to spend the evening eating takeaway pizza, drinking red wine, watching the X Factor and making pom poms by the bucketload. Hooray! It might not be everybody's idea of a perfect Saturday night, but it is just right for me :)

super(mercado) saturday

The Barras: Supermercado & MITS HQ Grand Opening
Originally uploaded by We Are Made In The Shade
Bet you thought I might actually do some blogging in my week off. Ha! You fools! Only kidding - I thought I'd be blogging too. Best laid plans etc... I am having a good week and I am being productive, just not exactly in the ways I'd planned. My to-do list for the week is sadly lacking ticks and I've done so many things that aren't on it. Just by coincidence, it turned out that Graham had a lot of days off this week too, so we've been doing stuff together, like going to the supermarket and making soup (and wishing we had a bigger freezer) and charity shopping and choosing our new bathroom... Yes, by December 5th we will have a working shower/bath and will be able to feel clean for the first time in over 3 months! Hooray!

Today Graham is at work so I am master of my own time and I'm planning to head along to the grand opening of Supermercado at the Barras, the newest venture from the Made In The Shade ladies. It's been up and running for just over a month, but this is the first chance I've had to go, so it's lucky it's the official grand opening today. It sounds like they have lots of fun stuff happening. I'm also hoping to buy a couple of Christmas presents. I am so organised this year that I've made it my mission to have all presents bought/made by the end of November! How I will laugh at the rest of the world in December as they all rush about and panic while I sip my gin/rum/whisky/tia maria/wine/booze in general and watch Scrooged and It's A Wonderful Life in front of the fire. Mwahahahaha! Goodness, I really have a touch of the evil about me today.

Talking of Made In The Shade/Christmas, I was supposed to have a stall at their Festive Shindig in Edinburgh at the end of the month. It was going to be my only Christmas market outing, but we found out on Monday that the event has been cancelled because the venue (the Roxy) has gone bust and closed down. This is bad news for me as I now have no Christmas markets lined up at all and it is very bad news for the poor Made In The Shade girls who had already paid for press and marketing materials. It's doubly rubbish since the same thing happened with the Lighthouse for last year's Christmas Made In The Shade extravaganza. I'm at a bit of a loss as I was halfway through making oodles of wintery goodies and now have no place to sell them. Boo! I guess I'll just have to update my shop (long overdue anyway) and see what happens. Or do a couple of Saturdays at Supermercado maybe? Either way, I predict being left with a lot of pom poms on my hands... Ah, how could that be a bad thing really? :)

Anyway, I'd better get going if I want to beat the crowds at the Barras. If I can overcome my embarrassment, I'll try to take some photos and blog about it later for those of you not lucky enough to be in Glasgow today. If you are in Glasgow, you can go and see for yourself.