Monday, February 28, 2011

fanny craddock invites you to a cheese and wine party

It's super sunny today and even though I am stuck inside at work (I type this from my lunch break) the sunshine is still putting me in a great mood. I feel like everything is going my way. I just realised that's practically a line from "Oh What A Beautiful Morning" so I must really be feeling it!

Just as one little example of how great my day has been so far, check out the starter titles for this programme I had the pleasure of subtitling this morning. The music and graphics are simply brilliant! If you want to know the rest of Fanny's secrets for a great cheese and wine party, I think the rest of the programme is available on youtube too.
One last thing... Don't forget to enter the giveaway or make use of the special Girls' Day discount code to get 20% off absolutely everything in my etsy shop. See post below for details.
Edit: I meant to include the name of Fanny Cradock's West Highland Terrier. Wait for it... Mademoiselle Lolita Saltina Cradock! Amazing!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

giveaway for the girls

March 3rd is Girls' Day in Japan. A few years ago I did evening classes in embroidery and there was a really sweet Japanese girl called Shoko in my class. On Girls' Day, she said it was traditional to give all your female friends a present and she gave us all some fabric from an antique kimono (which she hacked to pieces in front of our horrified eyes!) and some writing paper. I thought it was a really lovely idea and have always meant to adopt that tradition, but usually remember sometime towards the end of March. Well, this year I have remembered! In order to celebrate Girls' Day, I am having a little giveaway for girls only. (Boys, sorry about that. You will just have to organise your own giveaway for Boys' Day, which is in May sometime, I think.) I've made up three packages of goodies to give away and have stuck with Shoko's theme of fabric and writing paper mainly. Here's what three lucky girls could win.
Here we have a selection of eight of my favourite vintage fabrics. It is causing me some pain to part with these (hence why there are now three winners instead of the intended five!) but I am determined to be a little bit generous. Each square measures about 20cm on each side, except the brown flowery one to the left, which is a tiny bit smaller.
Here are nine smaller pieces of new fabrics. These squares measure about 12-15cm on each side. These are all fabrics that I bought quite recently and they are all so pretty that I keep coming up with new little projects just in order to use them. Hopefully the winners will be inspired by them too.
And here we have a selection of about 10 different writing papers, notecards etc. Yes, that is Elvis Presley you can see peeking out :) There's a bit of variety from parcel to parcel in the selection of writing papers, so you might find your package contains a different Elvis or a different cat etc.
Each winner will also get a bundle of postcards. I think there's about 15 there. Most of these are freebies I have picked up over the years. I have a big box of these (hence why I could spare 45 without batting an eyelid!) and find them very handy for jotting little notes and popping in the post, but you could also chop them up and recycle them into business cards or gift tags or whatever. I'm sure Lynsey is hatching a plan or two right about now if she is reading this!
I've also popped in one of my buttons cards (a different one in each parcel) as well as some pretty ribbons and a bit of green ric-rac. I might add a few more goodies throughout the week, possibly some stickers and whatnot/any fun things I find lying around in my craft room.

Phew! I think that is a very fun prize and useful too if you are a crafty type who likes snail mail. That description probably fits about 99% of the people who read this blog, so I am hoping for plenty of entries. Go on, you know you want to. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog post. I'll pick three winners at random on Girls' Day, which is this Thursday, March 3rd. I'm happy to ship internationally, so do feel free to enter even if you are not based in the UK. Friends and previous winners are very welcome to enter too. Remember to leave your email address or a link to your blog/whatever so I can contact you if you win.

Just one last thing before you go... You've got to ask yourself one question - do I feel lucky? Well, you should (punk). So that everyone can share in the fun of Girls' Day, I have set up a discount code for my etsy shop which will give you a massive 20% off absolutely any purchase. (My first ever sale - woo hoo!) This means...

*pinwheel brooch kits usually £4, now £3.20
*large EastEnders embroideries usually £20, now £16
*bunting in a box usually £9, now (hold on - this maths is a bit tricky) £7.20
*3 retro recipe cards usually £5, now £4

and so on. And remember I have free postage within the UK too, so those price includes UK delivery. Wowsers! To claim your discount, simply enter the code IAMAGIRL at the checkout. This code will be valid until 8.00pm (UK time) on Girls' Day, which is this Thursday. Everyone's a winner... except for boys.* Happy Girls' Day :)

*Boys, I joke - you feel free to use the discount code too.

the circus is in town

Right now I'm mainly trying to be quiet while Graham has a nap, but later on I am planning to have a look through my circus book for some craftathon 2011 inspiration. I'm thinking today could be a good day to tackle paper cutting/collage. This book is absolutely amazing and HUGE, as you can see from this photo. I first spotted it in a lovely bookshop when we were on holiday in Aberfeldy a couple of years ago and it cost a few hundred bucks. Years later, I was still thinking about it and wondering if I could ever justify spending that much on a single book no matter how lovely. Recently, though, I was searching for it online just to drool over and discovered that a second edition had been published and it was only 20-odd bucks. It's slightly smaller than the original (yes, the original was even bigger than this!) but that's maybe just as well because even this one won't fit on any bookshelf! It's absolutely jam-packed with amazing circus-related photographs and illustrations (I'll try to take some photos to share once we are in the daylight season again) so is bound to give me some inspiration today. Now I just need to find a space big enough to open the thing in...

Friday, February 25, 2011

cats in hats float my boat

I'm a bit fed up of having to go to work this week and am still convinced my destiny is as a lady of leisure, but my job does certainly have its upsides. Last night I was asked to work on The Brittas Empire (it helps that someone who reads my blog now and again has been promoted to the role of assigning work) so finally got to see an episode right to the end. Hurrah! I also noticed a while back, after a tortuous few hours of tidying up very messy subtitles for Hill Street Blues, that the kitten at the end wears a tiny police hat. Cute, huh?

Got to do a wee bit of DIY before work tonight so I'd better gets a-going, but I have the weekend off (yas!) and a fun wee giveaway to plot, so keep your peepers peeled for that next week.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The moment you have all been waiting for is here! (You have been waiting with baited breath, haven't you? What?! No?!) While I should have been decorating the bathroom, which is nearly finished now thanks to Graham, I have been busy playing with the paint sample cards I picked up instead. This is the idea that's been making me mega excited for the last few weeks - colour co-ordinated emergency sewing kits made from upcycled paint chips. Now that it comes to revealing my idea here, I realise I may have over egged it a bit. Ha! I must learn to keep my mouth shut properly if I am keeping it shut at all. I am still so excited about these though :) And I think the image above looks like a paint advert from a 1980s magazine, though I realise it doesn't look so much like a paint advert from a 1980s magazine that I don't have to point that fact out to you...
Look inside! I've gone colour co-ordination crazy!
Even the little safety pins match!
And if you ask me, no emergency sewing kit would be complete without a needle threader. I'm sure you agree.

I've just listed these in my etsy shop and you can see a list of available colours in the product description. I have to admit that some of them were selected for their name really. Yes, I'm talking about you, Bongo Jazz! That's a corally sort of orange/pink by the way and is very pretty, though how you would guess that from the name, I do not know...

Phew! I'm so glad the emergency sewing kits are officially here at last. Now I can start to wean myself off paint sample cards for a little while... and maybe even help to do the last few bits of decorating in the bathroom.

Monday, February 21, 2011

might as well face it, you're addicted to...


Yes, yes, I am officially addicted to animating things unnecessarily. I will try to keep it to a minimum (don't want to have to add a flashing images warning to my blog!) but please humour me for the moment. I'm hoping I might actually come up with something good eventually. I do have a few fun ideas brewing, but I'll try to wait until my first two creations are off bumped off the front page here before I assault your eyeballs with any more.

That said, this little windmill of pretty fabrics is giving me great delight. I think my creation of it was what prompted me to finally list refill pinwheel brooch squares in my etsy shop. They've been packaged up and ready to go for ages, but I wanted an excuse to add a spinning extravaganza of an advert here, so I stayed up late tonight and finally listed them. If you are as addicted to pinwheel brooch making as I am to lo-fi animation, you can now buy a pack of three ready-cut felt-backed fabric squares so that you can make more. Hooray!

I've got a couple more things to add to the shop this week including the new thing I've been so excited and harping on about. I haven't been keeping you in suspense on purpose. I had a few problems with supplies (thanks again, Royal Mail!) and then I took some in to Made In The Shade to see if they wanted a few, but they said they wanted them all, so I was sold out before I even had a chance to share them. I've been making more today though, so I will divulge all soon. Don't go getting your hopes up now... but I still am :)

Right, better go to bed. All these flashing images are giving me a headache and I think my new contact lenses have welded themselves to my eyeballs... Good night.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

a frank announcement

frank's been framed!
Originally uploaded by dropstitch

Oooh! We're now down to the VERY LAST EVER Frank Butcher embroidery in my etsy shop. In an act of uncharacteristic generosity, I gave the second last Frank embroidery to my friend this weekend. He just went so well with the EastEnders knitting patterns I had got for her and he will keep her Dot and Pat embroideries company. I bet he and Pat will have stitchy sexual shenanigans when nobody is looking. Oh no! Poor Dot! Perhaps I will have to send Ethel to live with my friend too.

If you want to bag the last Frank Butcher embroidery you can find it here for 20 bucks including UK postage.

new glasses unveiled

I kind of think my new glasses are as great as I remembered and I kind of think they're not, so I learned how to use Photoshop and Image Ready (totally new to me) to express this feeling via the medium of animation. And you know what that means? I have done a little bit of something from my craftathon 2011 list! Hooray!

I won't be able to test drive the new glasses properly for a while yet as I'm trying some different contact lenses this week so have to wear them every day, but I think I will like my glasses in the end. My rained-upon hair would probably have made me feel bad about anything yesterday. What I am definitely liking is the new mustard wall in my bathroom :)

p.s The tutorial I used to learn how to make this animation can be found here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

cock and bull

I was sure I saw a giant, crudely drawn cock on the front of yesterday's G2...
...and I did.

File under: 101 reasons to be glad I am no longer a teacher.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

moira-y christmas!

Yes, I do know it's February, but I had to share this little tale with you and it has only just reached its very happy ending, despite its dubious beginnings in early December... And just so you know, this is not going to be the post where I keep the typing to a minimum. I have a story to tell.
You may (or may not) recall that I was off work with food poisoning one day in the middle of December. After watching a veritable bonanza of films from the '80s and '90s, I began wandering aimlessly around the internet from the comfort of the sofa. Browsing around etsy, I noticed I had to leave feedback for something, but I had no idea what it was. I began to panic, thinking someone had ordered something from me (who knows how long ago!) and I hadn't noticed for some reason. When I looked more closely, however, I realised it was feedback for a purchase and not a sale. Apparently I had bought myself the above print of Custard The Cat by Moira Millman. This print had been in my favourites for quite a while and I knew I had been sorely tempted to buy it on more than one occasion. It even crossed my mind that I had caved in and purchased it while drunk or exceptionally tired, which would have been no bad thing. (Yes, that is how much I was boozing in 2010. No more, people!) Pretty soon it dawned on me that it was December and that Graham must have bought the print for me as a Christmas present. He had never used etsy before and didn't have his own account so had used mine, not realising the extent of the trail he would leave behind himself. I knew he would be very disappointed if he realised I had found out, so I worked very hard at keeping my mouth tightly shut. This was not easy for me. I was also a bit concerned that I wouldn't be able to keep the act up on Christmas Day, but hoped the excitement of seeing the much-longed-for print in real life for the first time would help me feign surprise.

Christmas Day arrived and I was sat under my parents' Christmas tree opening my presents. I decided to save Graham's parcel for last. I knew it would be good after all! After a while of opening presents, I came to a parcel from my sister. This surprised me as she had told me that my Christmas present was being held hostage in her house in France after she fell out with her local post office and refused to use them. I peeled off the wrapping paper to reveal a familiar-looking cardboard box. I opened it up, peeked inside, saw a flash of blue and yellow... Disaster! My sister had got me the same print! What to do?! I had to think fast. Everyone was watching, excited to see what the present was. Graham's little face was full of the joys of Christmas morning with a sparkle in his eye that could only be caused by knowing he had got his girlfriend the perfect present. I had two options - 1. continue the ruse, finish unwrapping my sister's present and break poor Graham's heart, 2. come clean, confess I knew all and break poor Graham's heart. What a dilemma!

All eyes were on me and I had to act fast. "Graham, I have a confession to make..." Yes, I confessed all, told him I had known about the surprise present all along and broke the news that my sister had pipped him to the post and got me the exact same print. He took it on the chin like a man (though I'm sure we would have seen tears in his eyes if we looked closely enough, you know) and told me how he thought he had been so careful to cover his tracks. He'd even deleted the confirmation emails from my inbox. I tried to convince him that it was the thought that counted, so all that thought meant it counted even more, but I could see why he was disappointed. We all marvelled at the coincidence though and agreed that it was a good thing that both my sister and my boyfriend knew me so well and had such great taste in presents. (Now would be a good time to add that Graham also got me other lovely presents that I had not discovered, so not all Christmas surprises were blown out of the water!)

Anyway, much as I loved my prints, I wasn't entirely sure what to do with two of them. Both print buyers recommended I get in touch with Moira (you remember Moira - the clever lady who made the print) and reported that she was super-lovely and would be bound to have a solution. That is what I did and Moira did indeed prove to be just as super-lovely as they had said, as well as a great etsy seller. She offered to refund me, but as she had so much lovely stuff in her shop, I said I would rather go for an exchange.
I chose this Miss Beehive print, carefully packaged up one of my Custard The Cat Prints and sent it off to Moira. In no time at all, I returned from the swimming pool one day to find I had just missed the postman who had put a card through my door saying he had tried to deliver a white package. My print! Hooray! The very next day, Graham (see how nice he is? he really comes across well in this story!) cycled to the sorting office to collect the parcel for me, but... he returned empty-handed! We tried again the next day, but Miss Beehive still wasn't there. Somewhere between my front door and the local sorting office, Miss Beehive had got lost! :(

Poor Moira. Just when she thought she had heard the last of me, I was back in touch to tell her the next sorry installment of the tale. Being the truly excellent shopkeeper she is, she offered to send me yet another print straight away, but I said it was OK and we would harass Royal Mail for a while first. Much printing and filling out of forms ensued. Graham even made another trip to the sorting office for me just in case Miss Beehive had eventually turned up. No joy. Until... one month to the day after Miss Beehive had been posted to me, who should turn up at Moira's house? Yes, my Miss Beehive print!

I was so happy when Moira got in touch to tell me. Even though I knew Royal Mail would have been forced to pay for a replacement print eventually, it still made me really sad to think of the original Miss Beehive print being dumped somewhere or spending eternity never making it out of her box. Moira checked that I would be in the next morning, popped Miss Beehive back in the post and we both crossed our fingers and toes for her safe arrival. Lo and behold, on Saturday morning Miss Beehive finally arrived at her destination. She had been on quite a journey and did not even have a hair out of place. She looked even better in real life than she did on the screen :)

So this Christmas tale of highs and lows has a happy ending mid-February. Hooray! And the moral of the story is... make sure you visit Moira's etsy shop because it is the greatest. Oh, yes - and be grateful for any lovely boys/sisters you may have in your life.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

easy! easy!

On Saturday, I had one of my most fun experiences of 2011 so far. I actually got to shout, "Easy! Easy!" at a real live wrestling match!

Graham and I went to see Rob Drummond: Wrestling at The Arches, pretty much for no reason other than it was about wrestling and apparently featured live wrestling. I love it when you have no idea what to expect from something and it turns out to be great.

It started off as an autobiographical account of Rob Drummond's life as a wimp and wrestling fan. He has a theory that everybody has something called a fight window, where they get the opportunity to have their first fight. If you take the opportunity and have that fight, you realise that fight's aren't all that bad, but if you don't take that opportunity, you spend the rest of your life being scared of fights. Rob Drummond missed his fight window so had been spending his life trying to avoid fights and wondering what it would take for him to man up. I should add now, because I don't want to forget, that there were quite a lot of wrestling fans in the audience, including one wee boy who shyly produced his wrestling figure from inside his jacket during the story of Rob Drummond being beaten up for playing with his wrestling figures in the park. It was so cute!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, he decided to train with the professional wrestlers at SWA for five months to get over his fears and live the dream a bit and to create this piece of theatre with them. After we had heard most of the life story, the wrestler who had dislocated Rob's elbow (I think this happened in reality and got incorporated into the story, but all the edges between truth and fiction were a bit hazy - just like in a wrestling match, you see) stormed the stage and started shouting the odds and getting all up in his face and that, guv'nor! It is hard to describe fights when you're not a fighter... He was saying how Rob was all talk and a big wimp etc. I was actually quite scared as we were very close to the action and he was very shouty indeed and Rob was very skinny and wimpy with his arm still in a sling. After a fair bit of shouting (and lots of encouragement from the wrestling fans in the audience - "Knock him out, Rob, and give him a haircut while you're at it!") Rob finally stood his ground and agreed to the wrestling match.

At that moment all the lights went out and a voice announced, "Ladies and gentlmen, please take your seats at the ringside!" These curtains opened and there was an actual wrestling ring behind it with big signs for us all to wave. Wee skinny Rob Drummond and three big, burly pro-wrestlers came out and had an actual tag-team wrestling match. It was so much fun, though I'm glad I wasn't in the front row because one of the bad guys shook his sweat all over a rather well-dressed lady of a certain age... And that is the long-winded story of how I ended up shouting, "Easy! Easy!" at a professional wrestling match this weekend. Ta-da!

Continuing with the wrestling theme and in a blatant act of self-promotion...
Big Daddy lavender hangers make it "Easy! Easy!" to have sweet-smelling clothes.
And Big Daddy framed lino prints. Yes, it comes framed! What could be easier, easier?

Incidentally, SWA are having a big wrestling match in Glasgow on 26th Feb and I so want to go! If you do too, check their website for details.

I might make a belated new year's resolution to stop being so wordy. This blog has gone out of control these days! Today someone mentioned they knew I had stopped watching EastEnders because they had read it on my blog and I actually found myself thinking, "What?! You read all the way to the end of a blog post?!" Not a good sign... I'll try to do some flying visits soon.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

c'est fab!

I found my camera charger - hooray! I had forgotten to unpack it from the bag I had at my mum and dad's over Christmas. Thank goodness I realised I hadn't seen it since then or I might not have found it until I next went away somewhere. When I was about ten I went on a school trip for a week. The day we arrived we had to unpack and put our empty bags/cases into a big cupboard out of the way. Once I had put everything away in my drawer, I realised I must have forgotten to pack any pants (oh no!) and had to confess red-faced to my teacher who told me I would just have to wash the pants I was wearing in the sink every night and leave them to dry on the radiator for the next day. This was all very embarrassing for me :( On the last day of the trip, we all got our empty bags and cases back to pack up. There, in my bag, were five pairs of clean pants. Looks like I haven't changed so much since those days!
Today I met my friend Bernie and her youngest son (my godson) Rudi for lunch. On the way home, Rudi went to visit his granny and Bernie and I went round a few charity/vintage shops. Looks like we had all the luck today as we both picked up some lovely goodies. I got this great dress for a wee bargain price in a vintage shop. I'm excited to wear it with my new glasses, rocking the sexy secretary look. Oh, yes!
This magazine rack was too good to resist. I predicted a life in my craft room for it, but when I got it home Graham said he liked it. That was shortly followed by, "Except for the floral fabric." Well, that is what I like best about it, so it may be destined for a life in the craft room yet! It does look very lovely in our living room though and ties in with the mustard light/fireplace/typewriter perfectly... Apologies for all the wires in the background. Graham has turned the living room into a recording studio today and is busy making sweet music with various instruments and recording gadgets.
I also treated myself to this record. I kept seeing it in the window of Oxfam in the evenings when the shop was closed. Every time I went past I expected it to be gone, so I told myself that if it was still there today that it would be mine. I'm so glad it was. C'est fab!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

getting ready to say goodbye to ethel... again!

As of today, I am down to my VERY LAST EVER Ethel (and her little Willy) lavender bag. All the Dots and Pats are long gone. Sniffle. I still have a couple of lonely Franks to keep me going, but I will be sad to bid adieu to the last Ethel when it finally happens. She and the last few Frank lavenders are available here.

I wonder when all my EastEnders gubbins will be gone for good. Not for a while, I reckon, especially as I still have some products never even listed in my shop! I made really cute little EastEnders badge kits to sell at markets, but I haven't done any markets in forever either so I guess I should try to sell them via etsy instead.

I have an EastEnders confession to make actually and it may shock you so brace yourself. I haven't watched it at all this year. I know! I kept falling behind and then the whole cot death thing on new year's eve really dampened my new year spirits (that I had worked really hard to raise all day) so I just stopped watching. It wasn't exactly a conscious decision and I don't object to their recent story lines. I just wasn't in the mood to watch any more. See, I told you it was shocking! I predict I'll be an avid viewer again before 2011 is out though, so don't panic or start thinking I have been replaced by an impostor.

In other EastEnders related news, I sold some EastEnders notecards to someone in America this week. She was so excited to find them, partly because they are only on 2003's episodes where she is, so my favourite characters are all pretty relevant still. I was a bit jealous that she had 8 years of good stuff to watch before it all went pear-shaped! Has it got any better recently? I don't think I can watch it until the baby swap has been discovered and forgotten about or until they bring Stacey back, but any great comedy stories or Dot getting tipsy could sway me. Go on, persuade me, please! I do kind of miss it...

Friday, February 11, 2011

no use crying over runny eggs

Waaa! Oh so tired tonight. I've been on the back foot all day. I should have left for work at 9.30am, but didn't even wake up until 9.34! Amazingly, I still managed to get to work on time (I am not even sure how) but I felt in a bit of a manky daze for the full 10 hours of my shift. Now "Waaa!" is about the only expression my brain can muster and my best-laid plans of post-work productivity have gone down the pan.

Apologies for the lack of photographs around these parts lately. What would I do without flickr? I've lost my camera charger and my battery is flat as a pancake. I'm sure it will turn up, but in the meantime, I thought I could at least use one of my own pictures for once and this one seemed to sum up the "Waaaa!" in my head better than anything else.

I did not enjoy much about teacher training, but I did REALLY enjoy the art classes that I took for my optional course. This was one of the things I made (a project designed for six year olds) and I do love her. I added the fried egg when I got home for no particular reason.

I think my craftathon 2011 plan was a hankering for the pottering nature of those types of art classes - where you dabble in a different thing each week and complete a mini project for each skill. Well, maybe "skill" is a bit strong. I still haven't ticked a single thing off the craftathon 2011 list yet though and time is a-ticking! Come Monday, we will be an eighth of the way through the year - yikes! Any millionaires reading this who want to pay me a full salary for pottering in my craft room till the end of the year?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

rainbow brite

1. "i came to get down", 2. russian matchbox label, 3. Beach-Huts, 4. Embroidery of yarnbombed tree

I really enjoyed the blue sky today. Everything looked so much more colourful. Apparently it's not here to stay (boo!) but it did remind me how exciting it will be when spring does arrive. In case you didn't get lucky with your sky today, here are some colourful images from my flickr favourites. I'll just keep looking back at these until spring has sprung properly.

specsy, everything about me is specsy

Originally uploaded by lunarsea

After well over a year of searching high and low, today I got a new pair of glasses. Woo hoo! No pictures yet (I won't actually get them for about a week) so you can have a photo of a doll in glasses for now. This doll's glasses are not like mine at all, but this is kind of how I want my hair cut. Maybe. I think I would be too embarrassed to take a photo of a doll to the hairdresser's, but I am sorely tempted... Could I, do you think?

Anyway, my exciting (to me) glasses story... After reading a recommendation and seeing some promising photos over at Precious East (a very handy blog to check in with now and again if you live in Glasgow) I took a trip to Niche Optical Tailor in the Merchant City. My plan was just to browse and I wasn't very hopeful as I must have tried on about 1000 pairs of glasses in the last year with not a single pair scoring more than about 4 out of 10. As soon as we entered the shop, the owner pounced on me and started quizzing me about what I might want. I was a bit taken aback (I'm not very good with helpful people in shops) but resisted the urge to say I was just in for a browse and didn't need help or to run away. I am so glad I did resist those urges because this woman turned out to be the ultimate glasses genius. I gave her the vaguest description of glasses ever (I didn't really know what I wanted) and she started whipping out pair after pair from her very stylish drawers. Within about 30 seconds, I had tried on about 30 pairs and she had whittled out which ones didn't suit my face and had got to know what I might like/dislike. I really think I must have tried on about 100 pairs (the pristine shop looked like a whirlwind had hit it by the time I left) and these were only the ones that she thought stood a chance. The selection was truly vast and there were hundreds more pairs I could have tried. In the midst of this focussed (no pun intended!) search, she also had me trying on some glasses from their vintage range "just for a laugh," including leopard print ones and some with bright pink lightning zigzags. I ended up with a longlist of about 20 pairs that I might have bought (so much better than anything I've seen in the last year) plus a shortlist of three top contenders. After much deliberation, I ordered one pair and almost cried at leaving behind the completely different pair that were my second choice because they were so nice too. Prior to visiting this shop - over 12 months of miserable searching with no contenders whatsoever. 20 minutes in this shop - potential glasses galore, fun had and the perfect pair of spectacles ordered. Wow. Their glasses are not cheap (though all the ones I liked were not really too expensive) but I think anyone would find at least one perfect pair of specs in there. And if you do visit, do not turn down the offer of help from the genius who runs the shop!

In other eyesight-related news (is it just me or is my blog becoming totally boring and middle-aged right now - glasses, contact lenses, printers, scanners, swimming...?) I have been wearing my contact lenses in the swimming pool this week (my optician said it was OK to wear them in the pool since I swim like a big girl's blouse and never put my face underwater) and it is so much fun. Not only can I see the clock (very handy) but I can also identify the various floaters so know which ones I must avoid (dead flies, old plasters and floating hairballs) and which ones I can swim right through (bits of float bitten off by children). I have also been enjoying the people-watching. The sociable swimmers (a.k.a. old folks) have such cheery faces and really make me smile :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

to swim or not to swim...

Vintage Fashion
Bare Back Swim Suit by Howell Conant, 1967
Originally uploaded by Lee Sutton

That is the question. Did you know this is what I look like in my swimming suit? Oh, yes, I do.

I couldn't get to sleep after my late shift last night, despite sitting in bed drinking yummy whisky and reading a good book (that was fun) so I slept in this morning when I should have been at the pool. Now that I have slept away most of the morning, do I want to use up the best part of my only day off by going swimming? Hmmm. I could stay at home and craft, but then I'd also have to tackle the big pile of dishes and do some diy in the bathroom... Swimming here I come! I'd do anything to get out of housework :)

Later... It turned out the dirty dishes and half-finished bathroom were still there when I got back from the pool (what an oversight!) plus I had revealed myself as a self-confessed bona fide shirker through this blog post. Oops! I've already been made (I use the term "made" very loosely here!) to hang up some washing and sand a wall. Sanding = sore and bleeding hands not fit for making :( Still, right now I'm sitting on the sofa and typing this while Graham hoovers every inch of the flat, so looks like my shirking days are not quite over yet. Mwuhahahahaha!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

family circle gifts to make

Family Circle Gifts To Make
Family Circle (London) 1967

"Toys your children will adore.
Exciting home ideas to copy.
Gay accessories for you and the family."
Thought it was about time I shared another exciting title from my vintage craft book collection. This was quite a good test for my scanner and I think we can safely failed! Not because the images look bad, but because it took me all day to scan the bleedin' things and I'm still short of a few pictures I wanted to include because it kept crashing. Now I'm actually having to type this in my lunch break (can you still call it a lunch break when it's nearly 9pm?) at work. I hate you, new printer/scanner! The Copydex bottle above is just from an advert inside the cover and I thought it was cute. Copydex can apparently be used in every single one of the projects in this book and they didn't mention the fishy smell once. Here's a little montage of some of the interiors feeatured in the book. I think the one on the right is kind of how I want my living room to look. I actually made one of the pictures from the nursery wall panel once. The picture on the left is to illustrate the paper lampshade projects. The other lampshade (for which there is no picture and only a diagram) actually looks like it would be really nice. I might try it one day.
Although the book focuses quite heavily on toys and gifts for children (not pictured here so you will have to take my word for it) it is also full of rather snazzy ladies. Here's another montage of some of the snazziest. I'm sure I've seen the lady in the orange towelling jacket somewhere before...
This woman is not doing a good job of looking like a convincing mother to that little girl, but she is doing a good job of complementing the background with her skin tone and hair colour.
The other side of apron wearing. Seems like you're guaranteed to look cool in any apron from this book.
These little arrangements of crafty materials are peppered throughout the book and I really like them. I might do something with a couple, like transform into a print or collage or embroidery? I really do have to get cracking with craftathon 2011 after all!
Here's another, slightly more macho this time. Could that be a tub of Copydex we spy?
This one is super-arty, especially the spiralling tower made out of the tape measure. I like it.
And I saved the best (or worst?) for last. This, er, woolly creation appears on the very first page of the book with absolutely no explanation. Modern craft books just aren't crazy enough for my liking!

Phew! That was a bit of a whistle-stop tour, but TV won't subtitle itself and my break is almost over. Hopefully the scanner will start behaving itself so I can share another craft book with you soon.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

a bit of muscle

Just to prove my scanner is working, here's a sweet little image from a book my sister bought for me. It's an old book designed to teach French children English and this is the illustration for "muscle". It reads, "The boy is very proud of his muscles. He plays many games and often helps in the garden. This has made his muscles very strong." Actually, I like this image because it reminds me of Graham. I think it's the T-shirt. He has one just like that and he's been wearing it a lot lately while he paints the bathroom. Meanwhile, I am shirking my diy responsibilities and hoping the bathroom will all be done by the time I volunteer my services again. Mwahahahaha!

So I've sort of got my printer/scanner problems sorted (though I still can't get it to work wirelessly...yet) and it looks as though the scanner may actually be better than my old one judging by the speedy scan of the image above, which is tiny in real life. I'll try to do another vintage craft book post this week to give the scanner a proper trial run. I've been meaning to do one of those for a while anyway, but which book to choose...

Oh, well. Off to work where I'll be held against my will until midnight :(

Friday, February 4, 2011

from tiny acorns...

About three (four? five? more?) years ago, I went gathering acorn cups when I was walking in the woods near my mum and dad's house in Elgin.
I was thinking about trying felting (even back then and yet I still haven't tried it!) and I thought felting little acorns to put in the cups might be a good project to start with.
Since needle felting (which I'm treating loosely as felting in general) is on my craftathon 2011 list, I thought I should rescue the acorns from the random-craft-supply box and get felting now.
Then I randomly saw some felted acorns on etsy (they popped right up on the front page) and suddenly I didn't want to felt any acorns. Even though I'd been meaning to do it for years, it still felt like copying.
But by that time I had got the acorns out of the box and remembered how cute they were and I really wanted to play with them and I had all that lovely new fabric I was telling you about... I sewed some acorn brooches instead. Voila!

All these ones (and their little paper-leaf packaging) have gone to live in the Made In The Shade Maisonette. I made more to list in my etsy shop, but I haven't photographed them yet. It would have made more sense to photograph the ones I would be selling online, but I got so attached to each and every one of them that I couldn't part with these ones without taking a photo first. Hopefully Glasgow will not be so dark the next time I have a day off and I'll be able to get some photos of the rest and start listing them in my shop asap. I'll let you know when they're there. I've been wearing a red acorn with white polka dots on my jacket lapel all week and it still makes me, "Eep!" in my head every time I put my jacket on.

In other news... there is nothing like trying (and failing) to install a printer/scanner all day to ruin your good mood. Now it looks like the printer/scanner is working but it has somehow made everything else on my computer stop working, including Photoshop, my best friend (nay, lover) in the world of my computer. Aaargh! What good is a printer/scanner to me if I can't use Photoshop to make what I want to print/scan look better? I'm hoping a restart might solve the problem, but I'm sorely tempted to throw the new printer/scanner against the wall and then jump on it until it dies. As if a rogue printer wasn't bad enough, Marks & Spencer's ruined my cheesy treat (a rare thing in these diet-driven days) by selling us OUT OF DATE blue cheese, which wasn't spotted until my mouth was watering and I was just about to cut into it. Just show me who to throw against the wall and jump on and I'll do it. See, told you my good mood was ruined ;)

Later: the Photoshop solution! Just in case you have come across this bitter rant while googling to try to find a solution to the same problem (Photoshop quitting unexpectedly when you try to open it after installing a new printer/scanner) here is what I did to fix it. I should forewarn you that I don't understand why or how this works, but it has worked. Apparently some scanners have something in them that conflicts with the TWAIN something-or-other (driver? plug-in? I don't know) in Photoshop. The scanners shouldn't have this in them, but scanner manufacturers don't really care if your Photoshop doesn't work as long as the scanner does. (You can see I' still feeling a little bit bitter here.) Anyway, all you have to do is disable the TWAIN whatever in Photoshop by putting a ~ in front of it. If you go into your Adobe Photoshop folder, there should be a plug-ins folder with a folder in it called import/export. (That's Adobe Photoshop > Plug-ins > Import/Export) That's where you'll find the TWAIN thingy and you just add the ~ in front of its name like this.

After that, your Photoshop should open as normal. Mine did anyway. I'm a bit worried about disabling part of Photoshop when I don't actually know what it does, but word on the web is that it's fine and all you'd have to do to re-enable it would be to delete the ~ again anyway. I'm not sure if this problem/solution only applies to Macs. It certainly seemed to be Mac users who were experiencing the same thing. Hope this helps some other non-computer-savvy person in the future. (Hello, person from the future!) Does this count as a tutorial? It's certainly not a craft tutorial, but I'll add it to my tutorials category anyway so it's easy for anyone to find again should they need to.

a doof doof with class

london mapcut on white
Originally uploaded by studio kmo

Er, wow! How completely amazing is this papercut map by studio kmo (a.k.a. Karen M O'Leary)? Click on the link to visit her etsy shop to see more wondrousness. I think I added papercutting to my 2011 craftathon list, didn't I? Don't be expecting anything like this. Maybe in 2012 though... (I joke!)

This is my only day off in ages as I'm having to do overtime, which means a good old 60 hour week and working 8 out of 9 days in a row. Ugh. My work has gone mental-busy again, which I put down to this little cog having taken a week off. Ha! Anyway, I had great plans to make the most of today, so I set my alarm for 7.30 so I could get up and go swimming before meeting my friend for an afternoon in town with a little bit of crafting/blogging/diy in between. However, it was the howling wind and the rain lashing off my window that woke me up really, so I went back to sleep, cancelled the swimming and then my friend suggested we reschedule for another (drier) day, which was fine by me. I'm staying in where it's dry and cosy - woo hoo! But now I've spent all morning in my pyjamas browsing the internet. Whoops. I've seen lots of great stuff though (see above!) and have ordered about a million (well, six) things from eBay for a new project of mine that I am stupidly excited about. I came up with this new masterplan of mine on Monday morning, so have had itchy brain and fingers at work all week wanting to get started on it. Whenever I have a top plan, I always think someone else must have thought of it already. Sometimes I choose not to find out, but when I'm feeling brave, I google my idea and cross my fingers. Today I googled and searched etsy, but I couldn't find anybody making this anywhere. Yay! That's not to say nobody has had the same idea, of course, but at least it's not commonplace/well known.

Anyway, that's all very mean of me because, as you can see, I'm not revealing my masterplan until I've made it. Oh, and don't get your hopes up too much as it is highly like that you won't be as excited as me about it! To make up for all this cloak-and-dagger nonsense, I'll try to pop back later with some pictures of the other mystery idea that I mentioned a few posts back. I'm still besotted with it too :)

I think my mind goes through phases of popping things out and I seem to be in one of those right now. It's so much fun, but it does make being forced to work every waking hour most frustrating. I wonder if I could start going without sleep...