Thursday, August 28, 2008


Working sucks.  Won't someone pay me to make things and blog about them?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

no photos please!

To celebrate me surviving my first whole week in my new job (I was going to say, "surviving in style" but frankly there was nothing stylish about it!) Graham took me for a little day out. We started with a visit to a photography exhibition at the Collins Gallery.  The exhibition was not the greatest but, judging by their collection of catalogues, they have had some amazing exhibitions in the past so I will be sure to keep a closer eye on them from now on.  While browsing around their books for sale, I found a small book about a printmaker called Willie Rodger.  I did a bit more research on him when I got home and found out that he was the artist responsible for the print that I always wanted to steal from a corridor wall when I went to Stirling University.  If you like linocuts, you should definitely click on one of the links to see more of his work.

We saw the lovely roof garden pictured above at our next destination, The Lighthouse.  For those of you living in Glasgow, did you know that admission to The Lighthouse is now free on Saturdays?  I've been there more over the last couple of months than I had in all the rest of the time it's been open.  I'm such a skinflint...  We climbed up the Mackintosh tower (ouch!) and enjoyed the views.  Here is Graham on his way back down:  
Even my camera got a bit dizzy!

There is quite a fun exhibition on just now.  The best thing at it was this beautiful... thing:
The surface of this is made of paper that has been treated to make it water repellent and is covered in a pattern of bumps.  Water flows into the test tubey thing at the top and eventually tips it over.  The water runs down the slope in blobs like liquid mercury, getting split by all the bumps.  Meanwhile, the test tube falls back into its original position and hits a sweet sounding chime bar: ting!  The water runs off the bottom and feeds back into the test tube and the whole process happens again.  I could have watched it for hours.  I got told off for taking a photo (I swear I didn't see the sign!) but since I have done the crime now I might as well share the profit with the world at large.  I didn't like to admit I had also filmed a short video - hee hee! Now I really can watch this for hours...

Just to slot in a bit of craftiness (one week away from my craft table and I miss it so much already) I thought I would share a couple of not-the-greatest photos of some bunting I made for my godson Rudi's first birthday a couple of weeks ago.
His name on one side.
And my cherished cowboy fabric on the other.  I knew this fabric would be a big hit with his mum so I forced myself to cut into it.  I received a thank you message from him telling me it had been very tasty!

This bunting was so easy to make.  I had been a bit put off by my previous bunting experience.  This time last year I spent about two weeks solid making crazy giant cupcake bunting for my niece Kim's second birthday.  I may never make cupcake bunting again but I'll definitely bear the good old fashioned triangular stuff in mind for future occasions.  Talking of Kim and birthdays, she is three today. She didn't enjoy my rendition of happy birthday when I phoned her this morning ("Mummy, make her go away now") but she did enjoy receiving her spotty dog.  Happy birthday, Kimmy Kim Bob!  Should I share the story of Bobby Oatcake now...?  Hmmm, enough rambling, I think.  Maybe another day...

Monday, August 18, 2008

memoir monday (three)

October Week 1986

On Friday after school Ruth came over to stay the weekend.  When we got home Ruth kept pestering me to play Blockbusters on the computer.  So I decided to load it.  When it loaded Ruth got the white buzzer and I got the blue.  The first game we played I won.  The second game we played I won.  It went on like that until the second last game.  Ruth won that one and the last one.  The scores were 7-2.  I got the 7.  After that we were just playing. My dad shouted us through for tea.  For tea we had fishfingers, beans and chips and some chocolate mousse.  After tea my mum, Laura and Toby decorated my cake.  It was a spider on a web.  The web was feather icing and the spider was a truffle with licquorice legs.  When my Granny came she thought it was a hedgehog with 8 legs.  Laura and Toby wrapped up my present.  We went and got ready for bed next.  Ruth and I slept up in the attic.  At about half past nine we switched out the light.  As soon as we did we saw a star and it seemed to be getting bigger and smaller.  Ruth and I both got very worried.  Eventually we decided to go downstairs and tell my dad.  Downstairs my dad was wrapping up my present with my mum.  When we got down my dad rushed us out of the room.  We told him about the star and he came up.  Dad hung up my trousers and my jumper.  Ruth told me a ghost story.  I wanted to tell her one back but I couldn't think of one.  It must have been half past ten by now.  And I couldn't get to sleep.  I started walking round the room.  Ruth got annoyed and she joined me.  I must have been more enthusiastic because Ruth went to play with Laura's ironing board.  At last we got to sleep and Ruth...

(Here there is a page missing.  The cake in the picture is the spider cake and the other two people at the table are Ruth and Toby.)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

oh, neglected blog of mine

Well, this has been my first long gap from the old blog but I do have a few excuses up my sleeve.  The main excuse is that we went away for a few days to Aberfeldy.  While we were there, we went to the highland games that we had enjoyed so much three years ago.  I am pleased to say that this year's event lived up to our memories!
Early in the day we saw the parade of vintage tractors.
The winner was the green one on the end, and here is its lovely John Deere logo close up.
I watched lots and lots of fabulous highland dancing.  
Taking photos has made me realise how much time these girls spend in mid-air.

The various competitions were brilliant.  Some, like this egg contest...
...were brilliant because they seemed so strange to us who are so uninitiated in the methods of raw egg judgement.

Some, like this miniature garden competition for children...
...were brilliant because of the finished products.  This garden was the winner but I have to say they were all amazing.

The array of vegetables was mouthwateringly and eye-poppingly impressive.
We satisfied our appetites with home baking from the WI stall.

I also enjoyed getting up close and personal with lots of farm animals, like this sheep.  I love how her eyes are right at the corners of her big triangular head.  
One of the best moments of the day for me, was the performance by The Drakes of Hazard.  This was a high voltage display of sheep-dog herding using ducks instead of sheep.  The ducks were sent round a highly dangerous assault course which included leaping off the tower of doom and going through the tunnel of darkness.  Quote of the day (from the human element of this daredevil group): "Nothing awaits them in the tunnel but darkness - I have seen ten ducks go in and only five come out..."  Here are the drakes going down their helter skelter:
There were lots of events for the burly kilt clad men.  Throwing this big jabby rock makes the Olympic shot put look so dull...
Some caber tossing:
And the ultimate event of the day, the Menzies Stone:
This stone weighed over 250 pounds and these men had to pick it up and carry it as far as they could around the race track.  Many men failed while others got red faces, bulging veins and various injuries to haunt them in later life.
The stone is so heavy, they had to get another strong man in to push the barrow back to the starting line!
My pictures of the tug of war did not do it any justice.  You could actually taste testosterone in the air.  One man put so much effort in that he promptly vomited in front of the hundreds of spectators.  Amazing.

I'm planning to put lots more photos of the event on my flickr at some point over the weekend so hop on over there if this just wasn't highland enough for you!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


While charity shopping last week, I bought this little house shaped shelf.  I think it was originally used to store thimbles.  
I plan to put some of my trinkets in it (though so far most of them have turned out to be too big to fit in it - noooo!) but wanted to do some home improvements first.  So...

I've been painting the whole thing white.  Two years ago I really dug my heels in to make sure there were no white walls in the flat when we redecorated.  Now all I do is paint things white: the walls, the picture frames, now this house...  I've been wondering today, is this a symptom of a psychological disorder or something?  It's come from nowhere.  White white white.  Actually, I plan to paint the roof red and (if my paint skills are up to scratch) paint on little tiles.  I might also wallpaper inside the boxes so each one is like a different room?   It's been a good project to do today when I've been feeling very lazy and not productive - monotonous but purposeful.

I did complete another exciting project, actually.  Well, stage one of an exciting project.  Graham's friend, Marc, has a Gocco and (lovely man that he is) succumbed to my enthusiastic rambling/questioning/swooning on Saturday night and invited me to visit his Gocco and make a print on it.  I am so excited to try it (I was only angling for the opportunity to look at the Gocco so actually printing on it exceeds my wildest dreams!) but also a bit scared because Marc is very talented and my drawing skills are not up to much.  Anyway, today I made myself sit down and persevere, and ended up with drawings to make a two-colour print from.  I drew a hulder.  There are lots of different ideas about precisely what a hulder is/does but the version I know is that she is a super attractive lady (with Norwegian trolls for parents) but she has a cow's tail.  Men can spend an amazingly (a-hem!) pleasant summer's evening with her but if they speak a single word she'll capture them and keep them locked up forever.  I will share my hulder once I've printed her.  I hope she turns out.  Gocco!  I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

progress report

My cunning plan worked and I did indeed have a productive day.  This morning I made this little dog as a birthday gift for someone special. The pattern is from this lovely book that my sister gave me for my birthday this year.
Unfortunately, I unwittingly made a very naughty doggy who is permanently cocking a back leg...
After making the permanently peeing pooch, I sorted out some nagging bits and pieces (made phonecalls, wrote emails, booked bus tickets etc.) and then hung lots and lots of lovely things on my newly painted white walls.  
My weekend of painting frames white has paid off and this wall is making me so happy!  You can see a bigger version of this (with notes to tell you what all the different things are) at my flickr here. Yesterday I adjusted and hung some gorgeous curtains that I bought in a charity shop over a year ago when I took Graham to Arran for the day for his birthday (that is a whole other sorry story!) so the room is really coming together.  Yay!  

So you can see that I fulfilled the promise I made to myself to be productive, and the evening is yet young...  I may have to use my blog to blackmail/publicly humiliate myself more often!

public announcement

Today I am going to be very productive.  I am announcing this to the world so that it will be very embarrassing for me if I fail in this mission by regressing to my usual 'procrastinatory' ways.  I will be back later with a progress report and it will be impressive.  Saying any more now would only be eating into my schedule.

Monday, August 4, 2008

memoir monday (two)

27th February 1987

Yesterday I was ready for Brownies when my mum came and said we can't go.  The jeep had broken down and I for once know what is wrong with it.  There's a leak in the petrol. So instead I did my french knitting.  Now it must be about 2 feet long. Then I went to collect Laura from Julia's house.  Alan, Derek, Kevin and Robert and Martin were playing with the Scalextric.  Martin said, "Go Robert!"  It fell off and he said, "Not too fast Robert!" Robert tried again.  It fell off and he said, "Not too slow Robert!"
At home Mum said, "I think we have a chimney fire." I went out to look and the smoke was pouring out. Inside mum had opened the door and tar was coming out of the bottom.  At night we wrapped up Mum's birthday present.  Dad gave her stockings, knickers, a picture and a tin opener.  I gave her a writing set and a bar of chocolate.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

stamping for joy

Look!  Look!  Look!  I got my logo made into a rubber stamp and it is making me so happy!  Stamp.  Stamp.  Stamp.  I can't believe how well it turned out - I was preparing myself for blobby trees with no leaves but all the little details are there.  I got it here and can definitely recommend them if you are looking for a stamp of your own.  Very fast, good quality and by far the cheapest I came across, with free postage in the U.K. and a free inkpad.  Very good!  I am going to stamp my logo everywhere.  I might even wear it as a tattoo when I go out tonight.  I have already stamped it on the back of a homemade card:
Stamping is so much more convenient than printing, cutting out and gluing on my logo, and so much more fun!  I think I could class this as another step towards pro crafting.  Yippee!

In other news, Graham and I spent another day in the south side yesterday (trying to squeeze as many of these in as we can before we enter the world of Monday to Friday type employment) and I finally got round to taking some pictures of the lovely scout and cub uniform shop.
Manly scout above, boyish cub below.
I had another successful day's charity shopping.  I got some goodies to transform craftily (I'm just heading out now to buy some paint) and I will be sure to share some pictures of the transformations if WHEN they happen.

The last of my internet purchases arrived this week and really made my day.  It was a postcard from Belle and Boo.  They have a gorgeous shop on etsy and I would recommend buying something from them just for the joy of having the most beautifully decorated envelope ever arrive through your letterbox.  They also included a lovely little extra.  I love it when etsy sellers include a small surprise.