Sunday, 28 February 2010

greetings, distant blog world

This dull and weary expression has adorned my face for the best part of a week now, as I struggle to find enthusiasm for my new project (and nasty little written assignments that demand my attention, bleurgh).  I have so much to chatter about and so little time!  What have I done this week, you ponder?


I experienced for a second time the musical talents of that lovely fellow from Ireland (although I am convinced he is actually from Middle-Earth and would love to hear from anyone who is united in this opinion).  Give Fionn's new album a go...once you have mourned the near-absence of acoustic guitar, you will undoubtedly love it.  His songs still read like stories, I assure you.  Moving along, I have been experimenting with dark room chemicals and photo printing (watch this space, I sense a new hobby is in the pipeline), went to see a lousy film at the beloved Little Theatre (don't bother; the only remotely engaging scenes are badly sequenced with a very twee portrayal of a lush meadowy Heaven), drew an Architect in a pub, went to see the witty and endearingly lovely Kathryn Williams and her new band performing songs that sound like summer, had a critique with illustrator Chris Long, watched Ray for the first time, went to a party dressed like a little girl and ate Party Rings (which never, ever fail to make me think of Bernard Black) and kept a food diary to aid someone's dissertation (which, admittedly, I have started again because I have eaten some weird stuff this week...).

So there you go, back to work I guess...stay tuned for some more updates!  Over and out.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

new york, new york

A new project graced my tired eyes this morning and prompted a weary trip to the library.  In search of inspiring New York visuals, I stumbled upon this unspeakably beautiful book.  I've never had an overwhelming desire to see the big city, but if anything, this book will do it (to be fair, this song is an equally good contender).

First printed in 1960, Sasek's drawings still look remarkably current.  'This is New York' showcases a gorgeous colour pallette, focusing on minute details with charmingly wonky little hand-drawn windows and a note or two about the idiosyncratic New Yorker.  Don't get me wrong, this book was originally intended for younger eyes, but what's not to love?  I'm going to see if I can track down the Paris one...swoon.

Monday, 15 February 2010

field trip

Oh, how I do like a little trip to our neighbouring city of Bristol, rife with eclecticism and colourful characters.  If you're planning on going, this is the way to do it, for sure.  Hop off the number nine at Broadmead and take a short stroll through the subway to Stokes Croft where walls play canvas to colourful murals and roundabouts host strange artsy contraptions.  But keep your wits about you.

After perusing the Here gallery (which currently hosts a very lovely show by Lizzy Stewart and Christopher Bettig...lots of lovely wonky handdrawn buildings and shaggy bears) and its shop brimming with gorgeous books and zines, take a little seat at The Arts House next door and enjoy a steaming brew in a hand painted mug.  The homemade complementary biscuit is delicious too.  As coincidence had it (I had excitedly picked up a flyer at the Little Theatre some time before and stuffed it away somewhere and forgotten about it), Jamie Hewlett's beautiful watercolour series exploring the effects of climate change in Bangladesh was showing here, gracing the wood panels in striking deep orangey hues.  This is a unique cosy little coffee spot where the very tables your feet nestle below are a sales piece for a woodsy craftsman, and the cups, a local potter.

On your way to Park Street, a delightful hill sporting a cluster of shops filled with vintage gems and artschool fashions (BS8 is a favourite, a department store divided by bright patchwork floors), take a final peek at the enchanting and bizarre side streets of the Croft.  Next, head to the Clifton Arcade in Clifton Village, stopping off at the tiny but very cute Soma Gallery, for a look at some of Rob Ryan's finest papercuts or an Amelia anthology, and the gift-come-clothes-shop with the pretty dress in the window.

The raspberry and chocolate flapjacks at Boston (above) are to die for by the way.  Grab one of these on your way to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, a perfect place to take photos in the dusky afternoon sun where we conclude our Bristol adventure for today.

Sunday, 14 February 2010


Happy Valentine's Day everyone, I hope you've all received or treated yourselves to something lovely!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

twenty three things...

I admit, I totally pinched this from Andrea (sorry), I just thought this was such a great idea.  I'm doing my utmost best to trap my motivation while it's there.  You just try and escape.  This level of determination calls for a Zorro mask, Amelie style.

1. Build a website
2. Eat a Knickerbockerglory
3. Post regular blog entries
4. Fill two polaroid films
5. Go to Ryantown
6. Launch a greeting card range
7. Re-pot my sad little apple tree
8. Decoupage my sewing box
9. Learn to crochet, make something

10. Get a First for something at uni
11. Watch a meteor shower (it's been so long)
12. Make one of these
13. Go to the Little at least once a month
14. Add a patch to Issy's quilt
15. Make fifteen recipes from my recipe stash
16. Order some fabric from Spoonflower
17. Say 'yes' more

18. Learn to do silkscreen printing
19. Organise a photo scavenger hunt
20. Get work experience in a studio
21. Be an explorer of the world
22. Feel hot sand between my toes (please?)
23.  Discover five new authors

I'll cross these off as I go!

Monday, 8 February 2010

geek chic

Horray! for geeky design tees.  I would gladly parade either of these if I had the pennies. (Threadless; left and middle, Lazy Oaf; right.)

Sunday, 7 February 2010

i love tove

TOVE JANSSON.  Forget the animated series, I am talking about the book illustrations and the daily comic strips.  BEAUTIFUL.  I managed to source one of the re-issued Moomin comic strip collections from the library at uni and I am hooked!  But as well as spotting parallels to my own work in the black and white flowery pastures, I have fallen for that little manic depressive Moomintroll that tries to get it right but always gets it wrong ("I only want to live in peace and plant potatoes and dream").

I have tried, in vain, to replicate Jansson's amazing use of colouring and shading, a sort of scribbly attention to detail that makes her illustrations so distinctive.  This is seen more so in her book illustrations than her comic strips, which are more concise beauties.  Here are some of my favourites (in no particular sequence or order).

And as soon as I can spare £12, I badly want one of these.  Those of you who are from Bath can get Moomin goodies from Shannon is Walcott Street.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

brekkie to go

I've started compiling a big chunky list of things I want to do in 2010 (inspired by the great hulaseventy), which I intend to publish at some point.  My mum and I delight in collecting free recipe mags from supermarkets and tearing them out and sticking them in a book.  This is usually about as far as my culinary pursuits go.  However, I have endeavored, as part of my rapidly evolving list, to try at least fifteen recipes from my stash over the next three hundred and thirty two days of the year.  I have Asda to thank for this one.  Very yummy indeed, and quite handy.

175g butter
3tbsp golden syrup
100g soft brown sugar
3tbsp lemon juice
250g rolled oats
25g flaked almonds
2tbsp sesame seeds
50g raisins
and a sprinkling of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas Mark 3.  Grease and line at deep cake tin (or whatever you can find) with baking paper.  Put the butter, golden syrup, sugar and lemon juice in a pan and stir over a low heat until melted.  Mix the oats, flaked almonds, sesame seeds, raisins and cinnamon in a bowl.  Pour the melted mixture into the bowl and combine until covered.  Press into the cake tin with a fork until even and bake in the oven for about twenty five minutes.  Remove and allow to cool (I didn't realise that the flapjack mix doesn't firm until it has cooled and incidentally kept shoving it back in the oven.  Trust physics).  Cut into bars or squares and enjoy!