Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Nigh on the End

Hurrah! A whole month of blogging accomplished. I'm not sure why I like to blog every day in January; it's just a bit of a tradition now. Maybe it's because I like to keep my brain busy on interesting things in that dull and quiet month after the rush of Christmas. Who knows? Anyhoo, January is just about over and February is about to begin. It's finally feeling like winter outside; some snow would be FANTASTIC. The weather forecast says we might be in for a bit tonight. I hope we can get a few flakes before the cold snap is over; I love me some snow. Then, maybe, I can get my red duffel coat out, which I bought in the sale in the summer and have only been able to wear three times.

This is just the right weather for snuggling down, which can only be a good thing when I'm just about to start a new project. I should be getting the details for it tomorrow, by the end of the week for sure. Exciting! As much as I have liked having a quieter January, it will be nice to get scribbling again. I've been working on ideas for new prints for the Open House in May, and for a quick Gocco print inspired by Steph and her Ladies in Monochrome. Hopefully I can share those soon.

Speaking of prints, I came across the lovely screenprints of Lara Harwood this morning. Isn't this horse just lovely?:

Her design work is gorgeous, too:

A nice mix of print making and watercolour. Do go check out her site.

Right, I'm off to work on print ideas of my own!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Liberty Owl

liberty owl2

Bit of an owl theme at the moment. This one is a finial on the balustrades in the haberdashery department at Liberty's. (OMG, by the way. I'd never been in there before yesterday, shockingly. I felt I had died and gone to stitchy heaven.)

Saturday, 28 January 2012


owl moneybox1

owl moneybox3

owl moneybox5

owl moneybox4

owl moneybox2

Check out my Szeiler owl. I picked up this little moneybox dude at a vintage fair in Rottingdean back in November for the bargain price of a fiver. He has a chip on the money slot but, surprisingly, still has his bung!

Apparently, this yellow and green colorway is much rarer than the usual brown they appear in. I've been doing a bit of research online, and it seems the going rate for one of these guys is £15, so I am rather pleased with my bargain! He's not going anywhere, though, apart from my studio shelf unit. It's a bit of a horrible website (My eyes! My eyes!), but you can find out about Szeiler pottery here.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Charts! Cables!

Brace yourself for this: I have knitted with a CHART. I have knitted CABLES. Two things ticked off my "must learn how to do" list. I'll be doing colourwork in no time, now.

In progress, the Grassy Green jumper. The back:


And the front so far:

cast on front

Bit addicted to knitting this at the mo. I'm going to go with it; try and get as much done as possible while I still have the enthusiasm!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Gene Genie

I've got a bit of an unofficial New Year's Resolution. It stems from a shocking confession: I have seen very few old skool Hollywood musicals. Or, at least, very few all the way through. Isn't that bad? I've lost count of the number of times over the years Husband has said "Oh, yes, that song is in such-and-such a film", to which I've replied with a blank stare, much to his consternation.

So, I am working on changing this. On Saturday, I had the day to myself, and, after a humungously long walk, treated myself to two DVDs from the library. (I say "treat", as staff I borrow them for free, but a DVD rental from the library is an absolute bargain anyway, especially as you get to keep it for a week. But I digress.) Once home, I settled down with a bit of sewing to watch "Singin' in The Rain". And I have to say I loved it, of course. I have a total pash on Gene Kelly, now, too. And he was 42 at the time. Phwoar. What surprised me the most, however, was its similarity to "The Artist", which Husband and I had seen just two days before. How the advent of sound affected Hollywood as a whole, and particularly those people, like poor Lina Lamont, who just didn't have the voice talent to cut it in the talkies. Interesting. I also have a bit of a pash on 20s fashion, too, although I always feel it's not really for gals with bosoms and hips, but seeing Jean Hagan and other curvy 50s lovelies pulling it off, I might give it a go! I have "An American in Paris", another GK special, to watch, too. I might put that on tonight.

In the meantime, here's a genius bit of remixed Gene from a few years ago:

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sheffield Park

sheffield park

This house was owned by the Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, uncle to Ann Boleyn, who  entertained Henry VIII here in 1538. The grounds - designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century - are now run by The National Trust, but the house is now apartments and privately owned.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Busy Bee

I spent all day Friday in the printroom printing up more Wolves and Woodsmen because I have RUN OUT of all three of my Little Red Riding Hood Designs. Shocking. It's taken 2.5 years for all the Woodsmen and Grandmas to go, but I'm now on my fourth printing of Wolfy. I must've been highlighted on someone's blog or on Pinterest or something recently, as I've sold nine prints over the past two weeks, which is just crazy for January. I barely sold anything in the run up to Crimbo! Ain't loife strange sometimes.


I'm back in the printroom Tuesday morning to get more Grandmas done, then that's me finished on these for now. I would have loved to have got them all printed up on Friday, but that was asking quite a lot for one day; I was flagging come 4.30pm as it was. So, Tuesday it is.


I've printed the new lot of Woodsmen up in a more eggy shade of orange this time, just to ring the changes a bit. The saffron shade of the background really sings against the dark, dark grey of the outline, but then I would say that as I'm biased.

I've also FINALLY done the sensible thing and ordered a job lot of poster tubes. Can't quite believe it's taken me this long. The double trips to the Post Office - one to get a tube, the other to post the print off - are just getting on my wick, so, at last, I've done something about it! Duh.

The new Wolves are already up in my Folksy shop, along with a Bumper Deal to get all three prints for a bargainous 35 squid, saving a tenner on the individual prices. I am generosity itself. If you'd like to take a gander, that would be grand, ta veh much.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Sunset, 4.26pm Yesterday

sunset jan 20th 2012 426pm

Taken from the printroom. I don't really get to see sunsets these days, as my studio is at the back of the house and faces east. I just caught this one as I was cleaning up my screenprinting mess yesterday, downing tools and grabbing my phone to go capture it. Beautiful oranges.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Tin Tastic

I bought this tin waaaaaay before Christmas, mainly because I just love M&S' Crimbo biscuit tins, but also because I wanted to stuff my face with the shortbread inside. I discovered, t'other day while searching for lovely Gocco prints, that this was designed by the amazing Lab Partners (their photo above). I've LOVED their stuff for a while, so I was rather chuffed to find out it was their work. The only difference is that, IRL, the tin does not have any blue-skinned people on it, they're off-white. Granted, they do stand out better from the background now, but it makes me slightly uncomfy none the less....

I really do need to curb my tin habit for next Christmas; I have them coming out the wazoo right now.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Locco for Gocco (groan)

Last March, Lovely Cat was selling her Gocco machine, and, having wanted one for AGES, I just jumped at the chance to buy it from her. Ten months later, it was still in the box. Not for want of enthusiasm, mark you, just lack of spare time.

The Gocco works as a kind of a cross between screenprinting and stamping. I was reading an interview with Forever Foxed last week, and was astonished to discover that, unlike screenprinting, you can print more than one colour at once. "Eh?", I thought to myself. "How does that work, then?" The answer is, instead of pulling the ink towards you through the screen with a squeegee, you press the ink down through the screen. As there's no "drag", you can use more than one colour at a time, provided they're not too close together. The interview with Forever Foxed I linked to above has more details on the process. Do go take a read; it's informative without being too technical and confusing.

So, after getting all inspired and worked up about all the lovely Gocco-ness around at the moment, I thought I'd crack out the poor, neglected Gocco to print up a couple of ideas I had for Valentine's cards. Here are the results:


rocks socks4

rock socks2




For a first attempt, I'm pretty pleased. I was a little nervous about the process, but I've learned so much just from making these two images and I'm just raring to do more. The Riso inks made specifically for the Gocco machines are oil based, which I'm not too keen on, to be honest. (Brings back too many memories of screen printing at uni and having to constantly wipe and wipe and wipe my screens down with white spirit and newspaper to get them clean, temporarily obliterating my fingerprints in the process. They use water based inks these days, health and safety and all that.)  I might have a go using the water based acrylic inks I use at the print studio to see if I get on better with those.

My kit didn't come with any ink blocker gubbins, so I've bought a sheet of crafting foam which I'm going to experiment pairing with double sided tape and see if that works as a means of keeping my colours definitely separate.

I've had a couple of ideas for new prints, but they've already got extravagantly out of hand, so I think those particular ones will need a trip to the print room. I need to get back there, anyway, as it appears I'm all out of Wolves, Woodsmen and Grandmas. Rocking.

If you fancy a Gocco Valentine's (anniversary, just because) card, I've put some up in my Folksy shop here.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Going Up in the World

These are a bit flash, aren't they? I think they must be part of the Old Market/London Road regeneration that's just started. They were putting it in this Tuesday, I took a snap yesterday afternoon of the completed thang.

baker street2
baker street1

Shame it's Bardsley's, not Bardsley, though.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

This is Brighton

This is Brighton from Caleb Yule on Vimeo.
I started shooting not long after my thirteenth birthday, and what began as a test, turned into a project that would take 9-10 months of on-and-off shooting to complete. I shot over 45,000 stills including reshoots and eventually decided that I had most of the footage I had set out to get for my film.
Shot as a series of stills on a Sony A230. Tilt-Shift effect applied in AE. Edited in FCP.
The music is by the wonderful 'Cinematic Orchestra'.

The film itself is dedicated to Rob MacDonald who sadly passed away this year.


Monday, 9 January 2012

End of Week 1

Annnnd here we go again. I didn't order one of these last year (not sure why, maybe I just didn't see it in time?) but in 2010 I blogged my CIA calendar pages every Monday. I tried to do something similar last year with my Monday Meander, but I think I only got to about 4 or 5 entires before that fell by the wayside. It's much easier to post a picture of something that's already on your desk than having to go out for a walk, take an interesting-ish photo, come back and blog that!

Anyway, so here is the beginning of the CIA Calendar 2012 Monday blogging. And as it's Olympics year (yawn) it's all on the theme of sports and the like:



Sunday, 8 January 2012

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Offside Explained

Blummin' hilarious. This is one of 29 new 50p pieces designed for the Olympics and Paralympics. Each one commemorates one of the sports to be contested during the games this summer and were designed by members of the public after the Royal Mint launched a competition to find the 29 designs in January 2009. Read all about this and all the other designs here, although there aren't any others as chortlesome as this one!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

White Room + Kids + Stickers = Awesome

I cannot tell you how much I want to go play in this room. This is an installation in the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art created by artist Yayoi Kusama, who, over the course of two weeks, gave children visiting the museum thousands of coloured dot stickers and invited them to help her transform the original white space into a riot of colour. I love the little caterpillar-type bug someone has made at the top of the third image down.

The installation is entitled "The Obliteration Room" and is part of Yayoi Kusama’s Look Now, See Forever exhibition, which runs until 12th March. (She has such awesome hair, too.) Read more here.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Year Long Exposure

How beautiful is this photo? It was created by Michael Chrisman, Canadian freelance editorial and art photographer, and is of the Toronto skyline. You should be able to click to embiggen it. There's a lovely article written by Jim Rankin of thestar.com all about Michael's photo and his process here, but I just want to put my favourite paragraph down here as it sums it up so beautifully:

"Think of it as a time-lapse painting. The physical progress of the sun leaves a streak that shifts minutely each day. The daily on and off of building lights leaves only light, not dark. Once exposed, there is no way to undo it."

Lovely. It's inspiring me to get my Fisheye camera out and maybe even my SLR. As long as I remember to take the lens cap off, right?

**I've just seen that Michael Chrisman is on Twitter here and is selling prints of the photo in an Etsy shop here. Might just have to get me one when I get paid.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Books of 2011

In 2011, I read 72 books. 72, people. Of course, when I say "read", I generally mean "listened to", as I get most of my literary fixes listening to audiobooks while I work. And, as there was a lot of working going on, there were a lot of books being consumed. I kept count on a board on Pinterest, which has been a nice way to keep them all together. I was roughly aiming for 52 - you know, one a week - so I'm rather chuffed to have got past 70. Here they all are:

books of 2011

A bit of a mix. 55 fiction, 17 non fiction. 7 "real" books, 3 ebooks (my first forays into digital reading), 62 audiobooks. I used to think of audiobooks as cheating, or for kids, but these days I absolutely love them. One of my favourite series to listen to is the Agatha Raisin books by MC Beaton. I've tried reading one in actual three dimensions and everything, but I find MC Beaton's style works so much better when read aloud than it does on the page. It seems quite, dare I say it, prosaic on paper, but totally full of life when read by the marvellous Penelope Keith.

I'm not sure which one would be my favourite out of these. Hmmm, tough choice. I loved Caitlin Moran's "How To Be a Woman", and would recommend it to anybody, but I read it in one evening at the height of my illness, and was swinging wildly from laughter to proper tears, so I'm not sure if I had anything like an rational reaction to it; I'll have to re-read and let you know.

I think my favourites in the fiction category would be "Rivers of London" and "Moon Over Soho" both by Ben Aaronovitch, both of which I banged on and on about at length here and here. The third in the series, "Whispers Underground" is out in March; can't wait.

In non-fiction, my fave was probably Mark Kermode's "The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex", which is basically a seven-hour rant about the crapness of modern cinema, which I was agreeing with so thoroughly I could barely concentrate on my work. I had to keep stopping it in order to actually do anything.

I've started up another board for my 2012 books. There's nowt in it yet, but it's waiting expectantly for me to fill it up with new discoveries or old friends. If you want to follow my Books of 2012 board, there's a link to it and all my other boards at the top of the right hand column over there ---->

Better get reading, got 72 to beat...

Sunday, 1 January 2012