Saturday, April 24, 2010

late night blogging

Harbour Bar
Originally uploaded by I like

At last, the week of late shifts is over! Truth be told, it's not been too bad and I quite enjoyed having the days to potter, tidy, go swimming, meet friends, browse charity shops and make the embroideries people have been ordering. (Yes, people have been ordering embroideries! Plural! Woo hoo! You know that means two, right? Not fifty!) I've also been enjoying my post-work wind-down routine - a lovely whisky while I watch the evening's EastEnders on iplayer. This is the life, eh? Is it just me or are EastEnders' storylines more obvious/predictable when you watch them on iplayer? I feel like I know everything that's going to happen in EastEnders for the next month now! Mind you, the old pregnancy tests in the apron pocket was a bit of a classic plot device... As was the papered over love declaration. You've got to love any Syed related storyline though. He may be a bit of an over-actor (acter in this context?) but he is damn fine to look at while he does it! Sorry, but I think it's ok to share these things after the watershed.

I'm still mega excited about the forthcoming trip to Scarborough. I've been enjoying looking at people's Scarborough photos on flickr and have found a few definite places to visit. The Harbour Bar (pictured here) features pretty highly on the list! Our tickets have arrived and Graham has booked us into the very hotel I was longing to stay in. I am too much of a control freak to have the destination/accommodation/means of transport be a surprise, it turns out. Ha! I have quite a cheek since Graham let me surprise him and I ended up taking him to closed-for-January Oban! The hotel we are staying in is (according to others who've stayed) a very large and run-down version of Fawlty Towers. That sounds negative, but the people who described it as such all seemed to recommend it highly and I can't wait to get there. The hotel is built in the shape of V as a tribute to Queen Victoria. It has 365 windows (for the 365 days in a year), 52 bedrooms (for the 52 weeks in a year), 12 chimneys (I think it was chimneys...? for the 12 months of the year) and four floors (for the four seasons in a year). Oh, and it is one hotel for the one year in a year! I learned all this from an episode of Great British Railways I subtitled way back in December or something. The stairways are wide enough for two ladies in crinoline dresses to pass by. That is very wide! Apparently it caters mainly for coach parties of OAPs, so we should expect to wait a long time for breakfast etc. as we will be their least important customers. I think it is going to be the perfect place for us :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

suggestions on a seaside postcard, please!

Thank you to Marc for emailing me this great picture when I first started hatching my plan :)

At last! The feeling of dread surrounding my impending milestone birthday has disappeared and now I am mostly feeling mega excited because I will officially be spending said birthday in Scarborough. Yippee! We have booked our train tickets and think we have found a bargain on a good place to stay. I can't wait! I've been wanting to go ever since I subtitled an episode of Great British Railway Journeys where they went to it. (No, really.) I just know we are going to love it and I am so glad I'm going to be beside the sea for a few days.

Does anybody reading this have a top tip or recommendation of what we should see/do while we're there? We're going for a long weekend and I'm sure you can predict some of the things we'd enjoy (anything quirky/traditional, cafes, charity/antique shops, anything involving boat rides...) but please suggest anything at all that comes to mind. I am open to trying new things in my thirties, after all ;)

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside...
Tiddly om pom pom!

Monday, April 19, 2010

what to do with myself now...?

I am here, but a weary shadow of my former self after two very busy markets this weekend. Here's how my stall looked at Say No To Plastic yesterday. Made In The Shade on Saturday was brilliant. Although it seemed a bit more quiet than usual, the people who were there were buying and I set a new personal best in market sales. Woo hoo! I also met lots of lovely people with lots of nice things to say about my work (I even had one person tell me I was their hero! That was a first!) and very much enjoyed the soundtrack, which didn't repeat a single song in the whole 6.5 hours. Impressive. I managed to have a quick browse round the other stalls when Graham came to help out at the end of the day and saw lots of lovely stuff, but resisted buying most of it. The market yesterday was super busy with so many people you could hardly move, but they were a bit less spendy than Saturday's crowd. It was still a worthwhile day though and my friend, Bernadette, came to help me sell stuff, drink wine and man the stall while I browsed the great vintage and handmade goodies.
If you live in Glasgow and are wondering why everybody except you is wearing a domino on their lapel, that is because domino brooches were by far my top seller of the weekend. I'm glad I made so many! One sweet couple even bought a his 'n' hers set - large for him and teeny for her. How cute?! Vintage button cards went really well too. It was back to their heyday/debut levels of enthusiasm and I think it was just because I displayed them in a cute miniature suitcase rather than on a plate. Makes me think I should invest in a few more display items... The handkerchiefs were oohed and aahed at a lot, but I only sold two. What?! Bernadette had a potentially good idea for them though, so they will be reappearing in a slightly different guise soon and I'm just happy that so many people liked them. I'm not giving up on them yet. I think it's definitely worth sticking with things. Case in point, I've lugged Big Daddy prints along to every market and given them valuable table space that could be used for... more dominos(!) but they have never had many (usually they have never had any) takers. I love them though, so have stuck with them. Well, I sold as many this weekend as I ever have previously and had lots of people commenting on them. I think Big Daddy's day may be coming, people! I'm glad I didn't give up on him before. And there go all my trade secrets. Ha!
I didn't buy an awful lot and resisted a lot of temptation. I would have bought a very lovely but slightly expensive vintage tin if the woman's hard sell approach hadn't frightened me off! Everything I did buy (except for an EastEnders item for a friend that a very nice customer tipped me off about) is in that bag above and it's all white! As well as lot of lovely white buttons, I got this little ice skates brooch.
I think it is adorable. It's one of those items that you can imagine someone from days of old wearing on their lapel as they skated round their local pond and watched a handsome boy... Well, maybe not, but I love it anyway :)

After weeks of squeezing in market preparations, I had so looked forward to a long lie today (and kind of needed it as I'm working late tonight) but the cats wouldn't allow it and I have been up but bleary eyed for hours. The flat looks like a post-market bombsite and I'm really quite excited about tidying up this week, especially after seeing Claire's tidiness here. Could my craft room really look like that? Time will tell... In other words, no, it couldn't, but it could certainly look a lot better than it does!

Friday, April 16, 2010

see you this weekend?

Originally uploaded by We Are Made In The Shade

Oh, good grief! My weekend of markets is here already. It arrived so fast and I'm not feeling very ready. That said, I have been working my socks off and my fingers (quite literally) to the bone. Now only 50% of my digits will function and it's the least useful 50% too. I type this with my pinkies and ring fingers :( I will have most of my old favourite products (some at excitingly reduced prices, bargain hunters) and lots of new stuff too. It sounds like there will be lots of exciting and talented stall holders to keep me company at both events too, so if you're anywhere near Glasgow, please come along to one (or both) of them and, if you see me, do say hi!

I'll be at the Made In The Shade Springtime Jamboree on Saturday (10.30-5, The Lighthouse, Mitchell Lane) and Say No To Plastic on Sunday (12-5, Oran Mor, Byres Road). No excuses will be accepted for non-attendance! Be there or be square/somewhere else etc... :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

twit twoo!

Originally uploaded by Pin Pals

In amongst crafting my socks off and getting into a crazy bidding war on Ebay (mega stressful as I was bidding for my sister who is without internet at the moment) I came across this owl on flickr and had to share. Just when I think I couldn't love the Pin Pals any more, I do!

bon anniversaire!

I can't believe my youngest niece, Ruth, is turning one today! Seems like only yesterday I was scratching my head over her Elizabeth Zimmerman baby surprise sweater and praying she would be a girl because the unisex colours I'd chosen were clearly not ideal for a boy!

This leopard-kitty is what I made for Ruth's birthday this year. Apologies that it is slightly out of focus - I was snapping its picture hurriedly before packaging it up and heading to the post office. It was very simple to make (although I still somehow managed to mess up completely and this was actually my second attempt - shh!) using the kitty/bunny/bear pattern by Hilary Lang of Wee Wonderfuls. All three creatures have the same body, but different heads. I made the bunny for Kim (Ruth's big sister) a couple of years ago, so I thought it would be nice to give Ruth something the same but different. I hope she likes it! I am the only one of my family not in France at the moment :( It probably explains why I'm feeling a bit nostalgic. Had you noticed? Ha!

I may be back later with a nice summery song - if I can find the one I'm looking for - to help you enjoy the sunshine or to imagine it if it's not this sunny where you are. I'm staying in and crafting like a crazy person today but am enjoying having the windows open and letting in a bit of light and fresh(ish) air. That said, the minute I opened the craft room window, a big bumble bee flew in and couldn't get out. It was not easy saving it from the cats and saving the cats from it, but it's back in the wild now. Poor Poppy got stung by a wasp when she was only little and her paw swelled up to the size of a golf ball. In the end though, I think she was more traumatised by the vinegar foot spa I forced on her!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Achoo! (bless you)

Or achoum as I believe they say in France. In another cross-continental psychic connection, my sister has become obsessed with buying vintage handkerchiefs just as I have become obsessed with making them!
After weeks of plotting and a week of prototyping (oh, the failures do make me sad to look at!) I now have a suitcase full of gorgeous handkerchiefs made from various vintage fabrics to take to market. Yippee! They turned out to be not quite as simple to make as I had imagined, but I am so happy with them. The ones shown here were actually just the beginning. The whole pile now looks like a popping riot of florals and colourful borders. I even have a few fluorescent-edged ones. (I loved fluorescent everything in the '80s. I remember learning the word fluorescent from Crayola crayons. It was so exciting then and it still is now... in hankie format at least!)
Much as the handkerchiefs look lovely in this suitcase, I don't think it is the best way to display them at the market. I want people to be able to flick through them all and choose their absolute favourite as they really are all unique little individuals of vintage/handmade loveliness. I was thinking a washing line, but how would you make a table-top washing line? Also, they do look gorgeous just sitting in a big colourful pile. There is hardly a single one I will not cry to part with - I will have to pick one out for myself to wipe all those tears away...

Handkerchief is such a lovely word, I think. During my first three years at primary school, my teacher used to write the word 'Handkerchief' (in super-loopy joined-up writing) on the blackboard first thing each and every morning and we all had to show that we had our handkerchief with us. If we didn't have it (or if we claimed it was in our jacket pocket and then came back from the cloakroom with the tell-tale tracing-paper toilet roll!) then our name was written on the blackboard under the super-loopy joined-up 'Handkerchief'. I'm not sure what happened once you were on the list... Obviously I never forgot my handkerchief!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

the postman always rings once and then runs

Last week I got a top parcel in the post from my sister. You may already be aware of it as I think this is at least the third time I've mentioned it! Sorry... It was a proper cardboard box parcel and was stuffed full of a million and one great things, most of which came out blurry in my photos (argh!) so you are getting very select highlights here.
One of the things it contained was this French craft magazine/book with loads of great things in it. There's a whole chapter on things to do with buttons and patterns to make giant animal shaped mattress things and reversible capes (matching for mother and daughter if that's your thing!). It's great. It also has a chapter on knitting with some amazing patterns as you can see above.
The weirdest thing, though, was this page. Look! The bottom right mittens are my mittens! It's so strange. I bought these mittens in a charity shop in Mull (while on the holiday that I still haven't blogged about - ugh!) and I do think they're handmade. From a charity shop in Mull to the pages of a French magazine... Or vice versa?
There was loads of other great and random stuff in there too. Apparently hankies are my sister's new charity shop addiction, which is another eerie coincidence as you will see with my next blog post... I'm looking forward to planting the sunflower seeds once it's a teeny bit warmer and have been wandering around with Drumstick flavoured lips. There were easter eggs and easter tea towels/tablecoth and a cowrie (I think to remind me of our hardcore cowrie finding days on holiday that left me unable to close my eyes because all I could see was shells and shingles in dramatic close up) and brooch pins (that I instantly transformed into domino brooches) buttons and... all sorts! Just the best kind of parcel.
In amongst the red buttons, these green bunnies were hiding :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

mouses in houses

Prepare to have the cockles of your heart warmed... My sister, Kerry, sent a Christmas card to our Auntie Frances this year. She is much better at sending Christmas cards than I am. When Kerry was four, our granny took her to London to visit Auntie Frances (our granny's sister) for a holiday. I do remember how unfair it seemed that Kerry had a) been on a plane b) been on holiday with Granny c) been to London and d) ridden a camel at London zoo! This last one particularly smarted. I had to wait until well into my twenties to see London and even then I had to take myself there and did not see a single camel, but I'm not bitter... Anyway, in Kerry's card to Auntie Frances, she was saying how funny it is to think that her oldest daughter is now the age she was when she took that trip to London. She said that she still remembered how much she had loved my Auntie Frances' family of handmade mice and the peg-dolly lady they lived with.
A few weeks later, who should arrive in the post to France, but a box full of mice looking for a new home! Their peg dolly came with them as did a note saying that they would be happy to live anywhere as long as they were never parted from their (gigantic) pet caterpillar. That's him there on the bottom right of the picture. Tee hee! How lovely is that?! Luckily, this house that Kerry had found at a car boot sale was looking for lodgers at exactly the same time! And don't the mice look happy in their new home?

I also got some nice mail lately, but I will try to come back and share that later.

Monday, April 5, 2010

tinkle tinkle lullatone

Other people's blogs are throwing up (in the nicest possible sense of the phrase!) the best things today. After finding this song/video over at Meet Me At Mike's, I have spent the last hour (being productive while) listening to gorgeous twee and twinkly pop songs/lullabies/ditties over at Lullatone's fabulous website. They have five mp3s you can download for free or just listen to while you visit and I am loving each and every one of them. There's lots of great stuff to look at too. Go and visit! Apparently one of them presents a weekly TV show where he shows the children of Japan how to make musical instruments out of things that you can find round the house. A xylophone made from toilet roll tubes anyone? Oh, to live in Japan of a Saturday morning!

guinea pigs of greatness

Guh! How insanely adorable are these guinea pigs in their nautical outfits? They are made by Miss Bumbles. I found these via Penguin and Fish (which often throws up great finds) this morning and, I have to say, was left agog by their greatness. (Slipped that one in for the 'agog' fans reading this!) They have also reminded me of something I meant to blog about weeks and weeks ago, so I will come back with that later. It's of a similar tiny furry creatures in tiny little clothes type vein. I'm off work today and (touch wood!) tomorrow after two lo-o-o-o-ong weeks. I really want to be super productive, but so far have been looking at various piles of half-completed projects and not knowing where to start or even what really needs to be done. One of my definite plans is to share some of the things I've been meaning to share here, so you can expect to see me again very soon!

Now is the time to stop procrastinating over wonderful needle-felted guinea pigs, I think. Off to do... something!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

before bed beckons... just!

I'm working quite long (and badly placed in the day) shifts this week(end) so still haven't found time to blog, or do anything really! As a result, I failed to remind you about Fifty-two, the exhibition that some of my embroideries were in, which! At least I I don't have to give you any more details (the concentration required could probably destroy my brain) as it is too late for details to be useful anyway. Did you go? It looked great! Here's a picture of a small part of the exhibition and, no, it is not a coincidence that I chose the bit of the exhibition with my embroideries in it. Can you see Stacey, Bradley and Dot there? Hurrah! Thanks to Claire and Camilla for inviting me to take part :)