Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Yes, the giveaway is closed and someone had to win in the end. Here's a little video from Teen Wolf, one of my favourite films, to help get the celebratory vibes going.
Wi-i-i-i-i-i-in in the end!

However, there is a little twist in the giveaway's tail... Since the only people who entered (not counting anonymous entries) were loyal readers whose addresses I already have*, the winner is going to be notified by post rather than announced on here. So, thanks for playing along, Lynsey, Claire and Emily, and keep an eye on your letterbox as one of you will be receiving a parcel shortly. Hooray! Who will it be...?

* Please email me if you have moved in the last few months!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

giveaway... g-5 and counting!

Meaning you still have five hours (nearly) to enter the giveaway, both here and here, for your chance to win a set of EastEnders notecards and/or two EastEnders lavender bags made by yours truly. All you have to do is leave a comment before midnight. Don't say I didn't give you fair warning!

Monday, June 28, 2010

tie a knot in your handkerchief

Remember to look out for my Dot and Pat embroideries in tonight's Mary Queen Of Shops! It's on BBC2 at 9pm and is apparently another great episode (with or without my stitching). Sadly, I will be at work when it's on, which means you are my eyes! I think, at best, it will be a fleeting background moment (somewhere near the end of the show) so you may have to test your observation skills if you want to spot them... You should also be able to see some of Miso Funky's excellent cross-stitching skills on display, so keep your eyes peeled :)

And remember to enter the giveaway. I've extended the deadline to midnight on Tuesday, so you still have a day and a bit to leave your comment and be in with a chance of winning all four EastEnders notecards (that's Pat, Frank, Dot and Ethel). So far, the entrants have a cracking one in three chance of victory, leaving the field wide open for latecomers. Also closing at midnight on Tuesday is a giveaway of two of my EastEnders lavender hangers over at Miso Funky. You can (and should!) enter both, so no excuses for tardiness! Win, win, win!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

it's traditional round these parts...

My first ever blog post was about the Glasgow School of Art degree show. I did go along this year and, although it's a bit late in the day and the show has long since been taken down, I thought I should share a few of the things I saw. It's traditional, you see. I didn't have time to do the whole thing this year, so only visited my three favourite departments - visual communication, jewellery and ceramics. (I don't feel so comfortable in the fine art department when I'm on my own anyway, plus I always get lost in that building!) The fact that I didn't see half the show combined with the fact that I am a bit hungover today, means that this is really going to be a whistle-stop tour. Look. See. Move on. Look. See. Move on. You'll like it that way, I'm sure :)
The very fun display above was by Emily Harding, who does a very nice line in screen-printed book covers.
These rabbits were a small and hardly representative part of Kirsty Gifford's work, but I liked them a lot (and know some rabbit lovers read this blog and might like them too).
Laura McGinlay used wires to write health and safety (ish!) messages about electricty. I love wires - so colourful on the outisde and shiny on the inside!
Paul Allan's flowchart explaining the rules of cricket made me laugh. I thought I knew that I didn't know anything about cricket but it turns out I didn't know the half of what I didn't know. That sentence probably makes as much sense to you as cricket does to me.
I couldn't work out who made this cow, but I applaud their sensible approach to the degree show, making something they can actually use (as shelves) after the show is taken down. All the things in the cow are made from cows. As a vegetarian, I was quite upset to learn that I shouldn't be using Pritt Stick. Pritt Stick is one of my favourite things in the world!

The textiles department had some brilliant stuff in it, but (as usual) photos weren't allowed there. I nicked this picture of Eva Joly's material from craftscotland. You should go and visit Eva's website. Her textiles are so much fun to look at. She uses lots of household objects and great colours, as you can see from the example above. She uses the CMYK process that's usually used in newspaper production to print her patterns. I like the newsprint effect.

The other person I really liked in the textiles department was Emma Shannon, who I can't find anywhere on the old interweb (other than that she has tweeted twice quite a long time ago) so I can't share any pictures or info. She had made textiles with patterns based on tower blocks etc. (she even had an 'I ♥ brutalism' badge pinned to one bit of fabric) and had some really nice papercuts of buildings in her research work. I wish I had sneakily snapped a picture or two because I'd really like to see her work again/be able to show it to you!
This brooch (I think it is a brooch?) by Gillian Harvie was great, though you might not be able to tell in this terrible photo. (It's hard to photograph things in glass cases though. It's not my fault - see the boss!) The long bit of type in the middle says, "This was one of the worst things we did." This reminded me of the long car journeys involved in summer holidays as a child (always to visit my granny in Islay apart from the two times we went to Yorkshire) and the very negative postcards I would send to my friends, even though I was having a good time really.
These beauties are by Victoria Lemon who uses typography in her jewellery, as you can probably work out without me telling you :)

And a (bad photo of) some very eerie work in the ceramics department by Yiru Wang. Gave me the heebie jeebies, this did! There are some better pictures on flickr if you want a closer look.

So, there you go - a spot of culture for you. Hope you enjoyed it :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

adjust your set

I woke up this morning with an idea in my head and headed straight to the craft room, where the idea became a reality! Can you tell what it is? Yes, it's the famous test card girl. The clue was in the title, really!
She is mega tiny (as you can see from this photo) and was a faff and a half to make, I don't mind telling you, but making her has made me very happy :)

I've also been making some other things last night/this morning, though none of them are at the photographable stage yet. My craft table is looking insane, with piles of paper and fabric and glue and pens and scissors and bottle tops and sequins and sewing machines (well, sewing machine - singular!) and buttons... My brain is overloading and I keep zooming from one idea to the next without bothering to clear up in between. So far, this approach is working well for me, but I do wonder if there is a tipping point... This is so much fun, though! Whoopee!

Friday, June 25, 2010

how appropriate!

polish matchbox label
Originally uploaded by maraid

My new crafty direction is not appearing (not that I want it to appear in the space of a week or two - I am hoping to enjoy the process of finding it) and I am still doubting my EastEnders decision, though knowing deep down it is a good one. Today somebody asked me what I made and I found I had nothing concrete to give as an answer, which was a bit scary. Who am I? I've lost my identity, man! Am I even allowed to say how excited I was about Stacey giving birth last night or does that cross the line? (Sorry, but I do just have to say how miraculous it was the the baby really did look like Bradley, even though it's not his baby in the show let alone in real life - as far as we know...) Anyway, after all that doubting, I randomly came across this quote from Andre Gide: "Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." Vindicated or what, people?! Ha ha! Not only did it seem very appropriate, it also gave me the perfect opportunity to do a sneaky, cheaty blog post from flickr using yet another matchbox label. Isn't it nice, though?

Other highlights of the day...

*Getting to subtitle an episode of Horrible Histories (it's so good!) and write the following - HE BREAKS WIND TUNEFULLY

*Seeing the end of the very exciting football match between Italy and Slovakia - knowing nothing about football, I just like goals and bad tackles/amateur dramatics, so this was a good few minutes for me!

*The feeling of the dishes being done (though not the act of doing them)

*Messing about with scissors and paper in the craft room, filling a jar with paper triangles - yes, I have a plan...

*Seeing (and hearing!) my cat and the neighbour's cat fighting even though they were separated by a window - comedy genius.

*Finding out that you can (if you look closely) see some of my Albert Square stitches on Monday's episode of Mary Queen Of Shops - I can't wait to see it :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

doof doof (or the end of eastenders)

Hello! Can you believe I have been blogging for exactly two whole years? Well, apparently I have and I thought that seemed like a suitably dramatic moment to announce what is (for me) a big decision.
As the brighter buttons amongst you may have guessed from the title of this post, the big decision is that I'm not going to make any more EastEnders products from now on. For a long while I have been feeling as if I had been drifting down a crafty path that I didn't necessarily want to be on and that the ever expanding EastEnders range was somehow to blame. I'm not sure what exactly tipped the balance, though seeing Handmade Nation and all the enthusiastic and creative people in it who were really good/skilled at what they did certainly helped give me the little nudge I needed.
I feel as though there are so many different crafts that I want to try (and some that I have already tried that I want to explore further) and that I'm not really giving myself the chance to do it because I'm spending so much of the little crafting time I have reproducing the same reliable products, which (once the initial design has been created) don't require that much skill/creativity to make. It has been a hard and scary decision to make and doing a stock take of all the products/saying goodbye to the gang did bring a tear to my eye, but (but!) since I made the decision, I've had more fun crafting/been more creative than I have in years.

It does kind of seem like madness to give up my most reliable sellers (and the thing that most people know me for) but I've had a really good long think about why I make things and, while selling is a thrilling part of it and not something I want to stop doing, the fun of creating is something that I've been missing for a while. I've been telling myself that it doesn't have to be forever and that I could come back to EastEnders once I've got my crafty groove back, but to be honest, I'm hoping (and expecting) that I'll be zooming down so many other fun arty crafty paths that I won't feel the need to come back to EastEnders at all.

So, what does this mean? Well, for one thing, it means that if you've always fancied that Ethel and Willy lavender bag/Pat and Frank notecard set/Dot Cotton embroidery, then you'd better get your skates on, because once they are gone, they are gone, gone and gone, people! I will not be replenishing any items that sell out! Go now and check out
the shop!

However, it also means (since I do love my EastEnders range and did want to do something fun to celebrate its passing) that you do have a chance to win a little something. In fact, you have two chances!
If you would like to be in with a chance of winning four EastEnders notecards (one each of Dot, Pat, Frank and Ethel) then leave a comment here on this blog post. You could tell me your favourite doof-doof moment, suggest a new crafty avenue for me to explore, tell me I'm doing the right thing (please!), wish me happy blogaversary or just say hi. One comment will be picked at random at midnight on Monday 28th June Tuesday 29th June and that person will win all four notecards. Don't forget to leave a link to your own website or your email address so that I can contact you if you win!
Or how would you like to win two EastEnders lavender hangers? If so, visit Miso Funky (purveyor of many quality handmade items and the first ever stockist of my EastEnders range) to enter their very special giveaway!

Better still, why not double your chances and enter both giveaways?
Maybe you'll even win twice!

So, here's to another year's blogging and the new and exciting crafty endeavours I'll be able to share in it :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

What we DID buy in the French charity shops

I'm usually a firm believer in leaving the best till last, but in this case I'm sharing my favourite find first. I so nearly missed this wonderful eskimo (it's still ok to say eskimo when it's a vintage item, right?) fabric/art/tea towel/thingumabob. I think I did actually say, "I love it more than life itself!" when I spotted it. Now that I have it home, I haven't found a place for it yet. But I will, oh yes, I will!
The colours are amazing and it really is too cute for words.
Here it is in its entirety... with a smallish cat for scale! (Not really - Poppy was just being nosey and wandered into shot.) It is made of tea towel type material, but is longer than a tea towel would be, so I think it is just intended as art and not kitchen-ware. It's actually two of the same image stitched together. I think I will separate them and frame one as the join is very noticeable. It's very tempting for me to frame both and hang one upstairs and one downstairs (yes, I love it that much!) but I think I will try to find a new home for the other half of it.
This one really is a tea towel, but also nice enough for framing and hanging, I reckon. I actually have quite a collection of nice vintage tea towels now. I'm trying to photograph the others to share here too, but am falling a bit behind. One day!
I found this little bird ornament just beside the horse's head in the last post. It reminds me of something, but I can't place what. It might just be a general Pigeon Street memory. I get a lot of those and they always make me very happy. I will probably buy anything that gives me a Pigeon Street feeling!
Sticking with the bird theme, there was this very colourful bird wall hanging made of wool. It's joined the pile of goodies waiting to be hung on the wall of many wonders.
This ball of wool was bought purely for the label... was this, though it happens to be a lovely colour too.
This little lady is actually an embroidery, also destined for the wall of many wonders.
Even Graham did not come back empty handed. He found a bundle of very good records. Here are a few of them.

We're actually just back from a whole day's charity shopping in Glasgow. It was kind of slim pickings (and I was really trying to be selective!) but some lovely things were found - five Tour De France videos (for £1) for Graham and some books for me. I finally found the latest Alexander McCall Smith book, only to find it's no longer the latest so I have another one to look for already! I also got some '70s craft books (anyone for macrame?) and a lovely old Judy annual and a great book about karate, which doesn't quite fit into the 'being selective' notion, but never mind. The only non-book item I got was a nice old photo album, which is still actually kind of a book, I suppose... Maybe I'll manage to take/share some photos of them one day, but I'll squeeze the mention of them in at the end of this post just in case! (You know you're never going to see those photos, right?)

In other news (or "and finally" if you prefer) did you know that tomorrow is my second blogaversary? Well, it is! I will be back with a special blogaversary post to share what I think is a very exciting piece of news, so be sure to come back for that. Of course, as with most exciting pieces of news, it will also be accompanied by a giveaway :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

what we didn't buy in the French charity shops

I don't know if all French charity shops are this flippin' awesome, but it seems that all the ones where my sister lives really are. For one thing, they are absolutely massive and have hundreds of every item under the sun. I'm not a fan of overly organised British charity shops (I think it usually spoils the fun of rummaging and the surprise of finding) but I love the way these French ones have a huge kitchen department, for example, with all the bowls together. All the bowls will be different and numerous enough that you still get the great fun of the rummage. Everything also seems very new/different to me, but maybe if you grew up/lived in France, it would be a bit more old hat? I don't know.
Everything in the French charity shops seemed like it had been in someone's house for a long time before being donated, which makes it seem a bit more special. You definitely don't get the feeling of people having just donated the wear-once outfit they got from Primark or the plastic tat they got five of at Christmas. I could be over romancing things here, mind you! I've always gone a bit ooh-la-la at the thought of anything French... Do you see the big horse's head there? I really wanted that, but (apart from being quite pricey) it would never have fitted in our suitcase.
In some ways, though, French charity shops are not so different from the ones in the UK. Seeing these Full Monty videos made me feel right at home! I always get a bit uneasy when a charity shop doesn't have at least one copy of the Full Monty. It's just not natural.
I resisted this batik... Viking man's head (?) picture. Graham wasn't too keen on it anyway. In fact, nobody but me seemed very keen on it! I stand by my judgement though and think he would be an excellent addition to any home. Just not our home apparently :(
I thought this girl picture was very sweet, if a little cup marked (how do you even get cup marks on a picture?) and dusty round the shells. If she hadn't had that shell missing at the top left, I might not have been able to leave her behind. I'm sure she'll be happier in France anyway, hanging with La Nouvelle Vague.
Stripy stone man made me giggle, but was also resisted for his own good. He didn't speak English.
This charity shop had an enormous art section with lots of good stuff. Graham and I both liked these (magnetic!) signs for Daniel Quatrevaux's decorating company. Apparently my sister was going to get one of these for my Christmas. I wish she had... or that we had bought one for ourselves! I know, I know - where would I put it?

I'm trying to teach myself some restraint when it comes to charity shopping (my life of clutter and dust is starting to get to me) but it can make me feel a bit sad. I'll be back in a bit, though, with a post about all the things I did buy! Yippee!

do the lindy hop!

I can't get enough of this dancing! You see this clip used a lot and it's one of the first things that comes up if you search YouTube for lindy hop. Don't you think that's pretty amazing since it was filmed in the early '40s, long before the digital age was even a twinkle in its grand-daddy's pixel?

I really want to be able to dance like this. I signed up for lindy hop classes a couple of years ago. In the first lesson (as well as getting a huge blood blister on the sole of my foot) the teacher couldn't stop laughing at me and said the oft-quoted words, "You're more like a crab than a dancer." She was right and, in my defence, there are some very crab-like moves in that clip. The next week, the lindy hop classes got cancelled and the fee refunded as still only three people had signed up. I don't have much luck when it comes to dance classes. The year before the crab-dancer incident, I went to boogie woogie classes. I loved the dancing, but I was the only person there without a partner. Sometimes I got to partner the dance teacher or she would make someone lend me their partner for a few minutes. Oh, the humiliation, especially the night I had made stovies (involving vigorous frying of onions) before the class and everyone kept saying they could smell soup. Usually, though, I had to dance with an imaginary partner and spin under my own arm. One day, an art student came to take some photos and I'm sure there is a folio/exhibition somewhere with photos of me (surrounded by happily dancing duos) dancing like a crab with one arm in the air, holding hands with my imaginary partner.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

return to sender/oz

I sent off my envelope for Meet Me At Mike's envelope project the other day. I was very pleased with it at the time, but looking at these pictures, I have gone right off it! Blah. It's very summery, which does not match my mood at all. Could you tell? ;) I forced myself to keep it simple, but now I think it looks like I didn't try very hard. I really did though. Honest, guv'nor!
Here's what I put inside - a bit of a nice paper bag (Glaswegians will recognise it as belonging to Sentry Box Toys), one of my tree embroideries, one of my recipe cards, one of my button cards, one of my handmade vintage fabric hankies, an Anthony Zinonos collage kit, paper bunting and paper buttons, a paper coaster and the obligatory fortune teller fish. I tried to keep it small and light (partly to follow instructions and partly because I thought it would be very expensive to post to Australia, but it was actually very cheap indeed) but now that I have seen what other people have been putting in their envelopes, I feel really bad. The growing stash looks amazing, though poor Pip will have to remortgage her shop to post it all to the winner, I think... I wasn't entering with the thought of winning (and certainly don't deserve to) but now I really want to! It's not too late for you to enter too. You can get all the details and see the envelopes that have arrived already here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

does your heart belong to daddy?

No, not Big Daddy, I mean to your daddy! Apparently it's Father's Day here in the UK on Sunday. If you are looking for a last-minute gift, might I (a-hem!) humbly suggest that you still have plenty of time to get the old man in your life one of these and all for under a fiver too! Love can't be measured in money after all :)
Framed Big Daddy lino print (various colours) - £4.50
(Perfect if your dad is a car salesman, cockney geezer or all-round top bloke.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

snail mail turbo injection

the envelope project
I've decided to take part in Meet Me At Mike's envelope project. I'm very excited about putting together a little package to send to Australia :) One lucky entrant will win the contents of all the envelopes too. Click on the image for more details. Maybe you would like to join in too?

I'm very bleary eyed this morning after Handmade Nation. The film was so good and Faythe Levine had lots of interesting things to say afterwards. She was a very nice lady. I have been reassessing my crafty ideas while I slept, I think, because I have woken up with all sorts of decisions made. One of them is quite a big decision too. Scary but fun. I will explain what I mean at some other point, but for now I have to go to work. It's always so hard to go back after being on holiday but especially hard after driving through the night to get home from Dundee!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

handmade nation

Originally uploaded by mooosh ♥ miso funky

I'm off to see Handmade Nation on the Glasgow Craft Mafia minibus tonight. I'm very excited, though a little disorganised and scared about riding the bus all the way to Dundee with people I don't know. What if nobody wants to sit next to me? Will I have to sit next to the teacher? Oh lordy! :)

I've been away on holiday this week, not that you'd necessarily have noticed. I've been in France and Switzerland visiting my sister and co, seeing the sights and doing plenty of charity shopping. Swiss charity shops are so good that even oh-so-picky Graham came home with lots of stuff and felt a bit sad at what he had to leave behind. Of course, I will share all the details (and photos) very soon. For now though, I must deliver long overdue stock to the Made In The Shade Maisonette and have something to eat before heading for the bus!

p.s. Did you ever write to Jim'll Fix It? If so, see the comments on the post below and do please share your requests, whether they were fixed or not.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

the cherry on the scarborough cake (aka the final scarborough blog post)

Just when I thought my 30th birthday couldn't get any better, who should we see but Sir Jimmy Saville himself!
How's about that then, boys and girls?

He totally made my birthday, so I guess I forgive him for the fact he never fixed it for me :)

scarborough - fun for £1 or under!

This was the best 50p I ever spent. So good, in fact, I spent it twice! This little chap and his tank of mysterious dark bubbling water lives in the window of a toy shop. You put 50p in a slot in the wall and a jaunty tune plays while the wee man in the kilt dances about and the tank bubbles more furiously.
After a while, this monster emerges from the depths. It wasn't quite as scary as I had expected, but then... Well, I can't tell you what happened next because you must go to Scarborough and find out for yourself, but suffice to say I was left red faced after shrieking loudly in public.
Also out on the street was this passion meter. I was declared a 'rude girl' while Graham's passion only bubbled as high as the (rather pathetic) 'Romeo'. It only goes to prove what I always knew - that I am the passionate one in this relationship ;)
For 70p you can ride one of the funicular trams up (or down) the very steep cliffs. This saves your legs and is great fun, plus look how lovely the wooden interiors are.
You can gamble with less than £1, but you do have to be careful. Graham can't resist puggies even though I'm pretty sure he has no idea what he's doing. I prefer the child-friendly gambling formats. We must have spent a small fortune on penny falls and the horsey game, but it was worth it and I'm sure it doesn't count as real gambling if you fritter it away 2p at a time, right?
While Graham was getting addicted to slot machines, I got guilt tripped into playing bingo with two old ladies who had been waiting for a third player for ages. I was quite happy to get to play with this exciting bingo machine, but it wasn't really the best 20p I ever spent. Aside from the fact that I lost, the bingo caller made fun of my poor bingo skills over the loud speaker too :( Most embarrassing! I didn't stay for a second game, not even when one of the old ladies started to cry. (Just kidding... although they didn't look too happy!)
£1 is a small price to pay to realise previously undiscovered skills. Turns out I am a sharp shooter, though only if I rest the gun on my chin, which meant I didn't really look the part.
Graham put his recently acquired muscles to good use and won loads of tokens on this machine. We cashed them in for lots of Street Fighter/Casper The Ghost trading cards (why they only had mid '90s film, I do not know) and a Pucca bracelet for me. The list to choose your prizes from caused much hilarity as nothing was ever quite what we'd expected. After winning this game, Graham selected a 'colour LCD watch' for himself. We were very excited as he had actually been looking for a digital watch, so we thought it was our lucky day. When the watch arrived, however, it turned out to have a strap and face made of paper with a tiny little paint palette and brush so you could colour it in yourself. Graham wore it anyway, but a few hours later we realised that the minutes changed quite reliably, but the hour was permanently stuck at 6.
We didn't waste time/money on any of the other grabber machines, but this one rarely let us down. On our very first attempt I won this, which was a bit like a double dip, but with only one flavour and...
Graham won these banana flavoured(?!) big red lips. Delicious...

Apparently we don't have any pictures of air hockey, which seems odd because we really did play it a lot. It's probably because I was taking it too seriously to risk letting a goal in while I took a picture!
Once you've had enough gambling/gaming for one day, there are bazillions of charity shops to browse. We didn't really find anything (I did get a book for my sister actually) and they were crazy busy with old ladies fighting over the numerous Daniel O'Donnell plates and other paraphenalia, but they were still fun to browse. I did buy some ribbon and fabric from a lovely crafty shop though and treated myself to a selection of buttons from the market.
I'm naughtily sneaking in this ten-pin bowling picture at the end of this post, even though bowling does not fit into the £1 and under category, but I scored my first ever strike, so couldn't very well not mention it! It was on my very last ball too and felt amazing. It also meant that I came up from behind and won the whole game. In your face!

I'll be back later with the very last of my Scarborough posts. It will be short, but very, very sweet. What better start to your birthday than a tip-top super-duper celebrity sighting? Can you guess who it was, I wonder? I don't want to ruin the surprise with a clue... but if you're around my age (or older) you probably grew up seeing their face on telly all the time. I even wrote to them a couple of times, though that doesn't narrow it down much. I was quite the celebrity letter writer back in the day!