Thursday, 31 January 2013

A Month O'Blogging

Hurrah! A month of blogging done. Not exactly sure why I like to blog everyday through January, but there you are. It's been really hard some days to think of anything to post (hello cake photos), some days there's loads I'd like to babble on about. Yesterday you were even graced with two posts. Don't say I don't know how to spoil you, blog.

So, I didn't really think much about making any kind of New Year's Resolution at the beginning of the month and it seems a bit pointless now, especially as NYE feels about 200 years ago already, but I'm a firm believer in making a decisions/changes in your life whenever you need to and just going with it. You don't need the push of a new year to get you going, I say.

With that said, though, I do have a word that I'd like to apply to 2013, one to keep in the back of my mind when planning things out or making decisions, and that is REDUCE. I get way too stressed out if I have too many things going on at once, and it's mainly because I say yes to too much. IT IS OK TO SAY NO. THE WORLD WILL NOT END IF I DON'T DO THIS CRAFT FAIR/BLOG THIS COOL THING/GO OUT THIS WEEKEND.

I also have way too much STUFF. I've made a start already in cutting down my book collection and donating them to others, it's my wardrobe's turn next. Less STUFF around = space to breathe.

Yes, this sounds good. Manageable and useful at the same time. I'll let you know how it goes over the year!

In the meantime, check out this beautiful real time rising of the moon:

Full Moon Silhouettes from Mark Gee on Vimeo.
Full Moon Silhouettes is a real time video of the moon rising over the Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand. People had gathered up there this night to get the best view possible of the moon rising. I captured the video from 2.1km away on the other side of the city. It's something that I've been wanting to photograph for a long time now, and a lot of planning and failed attempts had taken place. Finally, during moon rise on the 28th January 2013, everything fell into place and I got my footage.
The video is as it came off the memory card and there has been no manipulation whatsoever. Technically it was quite a challenge to get the final result. I shot it on a Canon ID MkIV in video mode with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L and a Canon 2x extender II, giving me the equivalent focal length of 1300mm.

Music - Tenderness by Dan Phillipson :

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Introducing a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with the Oscar®-nominated short, "Paperman."

Quite possibly the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.



So far, this week has been all about OD-ing on the tea. I mean, even more than usual; I am an illustrator and English, after all. I obviously need that extra push only tea leaves can bring to get me on my scribbly way. Plus, I'm coveting these new lovelies from F&M:

All images from

Must organise a London trip ASAP.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


Well, we could definitely do with a bit of summer round here, even just a corner:


Hubbo bought me this lovely "Summer" screenprint by Lisa Stubbs for Crimbo. Gawjus. I just need a suitably lovely frame to put it in, now. And maybe this one to go with it. And this one. Oh, and this one, too, would be lovely, ta.

Thursday, 24 January 2013



This thermometer was stuck on the side of our 50s cabinet. I LOVE how it's from a company based in Portslade, which just goes to show this baby has never left the area. I don't know if the whole cabinet would've come from Mr Harber, or just the thermometer. Either way, it's making me happy. I think it's still working, too. When I took it off the cabinet it read 70ºF, which I think is about 21ºC, which sounds about right for our living room. When I took the photo, it was in the window sill and had been there for about half an hour, reading 59ºF/15ºC, which also seems feasible.

AND, what's making me even happier is that HJH&S is still going strong, albeit on the Southwick/Mile Oak, rather than central Portslade. 

 I'm definitely going to give it a good clean up and stick it back on where I found it.

Eeee, I do love me a bit o'history.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013



More blurring, tilting and shifting. Addictive.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Tilting and Shifting


I've been having a play-about with getting an Instagram-like blur/tilt shift effect with my photos. If you're fancy enough to have CS6, there's a lovely built in filter in Photoshop that will do it for you, but as I'm still on CS4 I have to find a manual way of doing it. I used this tutorial here, which was very easy to follow.

I'm just going to faff about with all my photos now....

Monday, 21 January 2013

Stripping Off Again


Hubbo and I spent yesterday afternoon stripping the side panels of this baby. We gave it three coats of paint stripper, revealing quite a bit of the actual wood, but it's going to need another going over, possibly two, to really see what the underlying condition is like. I still have my fingers crossed for something like this.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Happy Snow Day


Annoyingly, although my library was closed today, I had to go to another instead of getting to stay in, drink hot chocolate and knit. Gah. There's always tomorrow, I suppose...

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Double Socks...

Foxy feet to go with my bunny slippers

...slippers, legwarmers and wooly hat on indoors. Bring on the snow!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

I'm Not Impressed With This, Mr. Colinette

These are, or should I say, were, a pair of Hubbo socks, that, according to Ravelry, I finished knitting on December 31st 2011. So, after a mere year of wear, this is the result:

broken jitterbug3

broken jitterbug2

broken jitterbug1

The yarn is Colinette's Jitterbug in the Jamboree colourway. Now, I know Hubbo isn't exactly light on his feet, but he has pairs of socks I knitted him four years ago using the exact same method that are still going strong, only those are knitted from other sock yarns. What makes Jitterbug different is that it's 100% Merino wool - no added Nylon for strength. Gah! It's bloody lovely yarn, but at 14 squids a skein, I'd like something a little more hardwearing, please and thank you.

I have another Jitterbug pair on the needles right now that's 85% complete, but these have somehow made me reluctant to finish it. Ah, well. I suppose all I can do is finish them off, give them to Hubbo, let him do his worst and keep future Jitterbug skeins for gloves!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Another Off the WIP List!

Finally, after six months of sitting around in pieces, the Grassy Green Jumper is complete!

grassy green3

grassy green1

And just in time for a cold snap, too.

This baby is knit in 100% aran wool, so it's pretty chunky and a tad on the hefty side, so it definitely calls for proper winter weather before donning. There is only one mistake, which is on the back and not shown here, where I got my safety line all caught up in the pattern, so it's a little obvious where it was, but other than that, I'm pretty darn happy with the outcome. As I was exclaiming here (oh dear, a year ago. Ahem.), I jumped in and had a bash at both cabling and charts. Neither will faze me now!

All the pattern, yarn and needle info is here on Ravelry.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Frida's Wardrobe

There is a new exhibition at the Frida Kahlo museum in Mexico City showcasing the contents of Frida's wardrobe; locked from her death in 1954 until being re-opened in 2002. Now, while I am very unlikely to be jumping on a plane and going to see it in person, these photos, and video, on the Univision News Tumblr are the next bext thing. I cannot tell you how much I am coveting these red boots:

Friday, 11 January 2013

Igloo of Coloured Ice

Read more about this lovely on the Global Edmonton website here

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Happy Birthday London Underground

The London Underground is 150 years old today. Hurrah! To commemorate, Royal Mail have brought out a set of beautiful stamps that makes my inner philatelist very happy:

All images from the Royal Mail website

I love, love, love the Miniature Sheet of classic advertising posters above; I might just have to be a bit sad and go get the Presentation Pack. The posters are always my favourite bit of a visit to the London Transport Museum; I could easily spend hours just looking through them all and not worry about all the other interesting exhibits in there.

As Hubbo works for TfL, we get free entry to the museum, which is a definite perk of the job. Every member of staff was also recently given a free copy of this book, which is HUGE, and a lovely commemorative pin to celebrate the anniversary, which I thought was reet nice of them.

There are some fabulous larger images of the stamps, plus two commemorative coins, here on Creative Review. Check 'em out.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Frida With Pigeons

This is (a rather bad low-light photo of) a brooch I made for Lovely Sam for Crimbo:

frida brooch

It's made from my fave brooch-making material, inkjet shrinky plastic, from here, a quick spray of varnish and a brooch pin. Et voila.

Having merrily been simply making characters up for, oh, forever, having to draw someone to look like a real person is really quite hard! I hope I've got the feel of Frida without necessarily needing to be too representational. My main inspiration was this photo by Juan Guzmán, which is just lovely:

And because my photo of the finished brooch was taken in appalling light, here's my original artwork:


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Who's The Fairest One of All?

Fantastic Mr Fox, it seems.

mirror mirror

This is our most recent bargainous second-hand find. This baby was a mere £1.99 in a local charidee shop. Hubbo surprised me with it one Saturday after I'd got back from work. Ennee good?

It's not in the most amazing condition, hence the bargain price, I suppose, but I'm happy with the little dude. I've had a lot of fun cleaning it up this week, particularly soaking the chain in Coke to remove the grime (works awesomely) and shining it up with Brasso. The wooden frame got a good going over just with warm water and vinegar - you'd be amazed at all the gunk that came off - and a bit of a feed with a rubbing of furniture wax. A quick polish of the glass, and it was up on the wall. I moved a few pictures round to make room for it, and it really is true that a change is as good as a rest. I do love bouncing light around with the odd mirror or two, it works just as well as a can of white paint.

It's quite inspired me to get on and change up a few more things around here. After having our 50s kitchen cabinet for only 16 months now, Hubbo and I finally got around to doing a bit of investigative paint stripping this afternoon. I had hoped we might be able to take it back to plain wood and paint parts of it up something like this, but I don't think the condition of the wood is going to be good enough to get away with it. So, back to Plan A, I think, which was to paint it all over in something near to its original colour, baby blue. Watch this space...

Saturday, 5 January 2013

I Really Hope You've Been Watching CITV This Weekend

Even I, without a TV, have been catching up with CITV's Old Skool 30th Anniversary weekend on ITV Player with the likes of Count Duckula, Fraggle Rock and, best children's programme of all time, Knightmare. Get thee to a TV!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Books of 2012

books of 2012

80 of 'em. That's eight up on 2011, although I can't honestly say they're all brand new books I've never read/listened to before, as my Agatha Raisin marathon can attest.

The books I've been most excited about are those of Barbara Pym. I'd never heard of her before this summer and it was only by chance while working at not-my-usual-library that I happened to come across "Excellent Women" (which, several books into Pym's work, still remains my favourite). Love at first paragraph. Her writing reminds me of Stella Gibbons and Winifred Watson and Jane Austen. They're laugh-out-loud funny and bittersweet at the same time. I particularly love how characters from earlier novels crop up as an aside in later ones; everyone is connected to everyone else somehow. Fabulous stuff.

Speaking of laugh-out-loud funny, after loving Mr Fry and Mr Laurie for some time, I actually got around to reading some PG Wodehouse. GENIUS. One of PG's I read was "Something Fresh", the first novel in the Blandings series, which the BBC has just made a adaptation of, to be screened very shortly. CANNOT WAIT.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Yeah, Just Took Me Five Months to Sew on the Buttons. No Biggie.

This O W L S jumper took me just five evenings to knit back in July, but all the intervening months to sew the button eyes on. Ridic. In my defence, it did take quite a while to find buttons that were just the right size. And then, of course, they had to sit there waiting for me to actually sew them on. I can't get something new in and then USE IT STRAIGHT AWAY, can I now??!! And there are 42 of the blighters. Ahem. Anyhoo, it's all done now, and just before the turn of the new year, too. I've been wearing it with pride for the last three days.




All the details are here on Ravelry. The yarn is 100% acrylic, which isn't normally something I'd choose to knit a whole jumper with, but I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the yarn felt to knit with, plus the finished article is light enough that I can actually wear it indoors without sweltering away. And the fact it only cost a tenner to knit was very appealing. But, most exciting of all, people, I KNITTED CABLES. I. Knitted. Cables. I am excited about this, can you tell?

Now I just have my green jumper to sew up and that's two items off my WIP list. Huzzah!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2012 Week By Week

It's quite nice to look back and remember all those CIA illustrations I had on my desk last year. Some, due to deadlines, life, or just plain forgetfulness, for longer than others. Sport and the Olympics aren't really my bag, baby, so to see some of these representing some of the more, um, unusual sports was rather comforting. I'm sure I could get at least a Bronze in the Competitive Knitting heats.

CIA Calendar 2012 part 1
CIA Calendar 2012 part 2
CIA Calendar 2012 part 3