Tuesday, 29 January 2013


I don't know what's I like about this more, the fact that it exists and as such is a brilliant example of what the human imagination can do, or that I know it will be the perfect wedding gift for a great couple I know. 

Brava to Michelle Merrywidow, the (delicious, live) brains behind Zombie Hoedown 

Photo by Zombie Hoedown on Etsy

Monday, 28 January 2013


I am so excited about a little road trip I'll be taking later on this week.  My little sidekick and I are off to Sheffield to visit Vertiline in Love, a fantastic stockist of my work, and to have a proper look around the shop's new home of Bird's Yard.  On Saturday, an exhibition called Shadowlands, celebrating Sheffield, will be opening.  It features a collection of monoprints from 30 artists, including myself, and I can't wait to see representations of the city from other artists.  I am waiting to show you some photos of my artwork in situ, if I can gain permission, and I am taking my mum so that she can toddler wrangle while I mingle and enjoy the afternoon.  

In the meantime, find out more on the Facebook events page for the exhibition.  It runs from 2 - 18 February and should be well worth a visit if you're in the area.  

Sunday, 27 January 2013


Print by Doug Armand on Etsy

I am dreaming of sunnier moments in one of my favourite parks, just beneath the flying buttresses, between the memorial and the fountain.  If I had just one sunny spring or summer day to spend in Paris, this would be my itinerary of choice.  With an extra stop off the island at Shakespeare & Company.  I spent a summer writing my dissertation on a blanket on this patch of grass and only really noticed the memorial shortly before I left the city.  I am remembering it today.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Put a quilt on it

So my 365 project was going so well until I went and got sinusitis and took to my bed for a couple of days.

It's perked me up no end to find this little treasure in the V&A sale.  Form meets function in this quilt-themed Sharpie.  For a pound!  A pound!  Bargain.

Photo via V&A museum website - get on it!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snow day

Today we had a tiny bit of snow, and spent a bit of time outdoors to enjoy it. Even Clyde, our cat, came for a little walk in the snow. Kipper, our other cat, has more sense. This is the closest he got to any white stuff today.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

This weekend

Is going past in a blur.

Fox mask reduced to clear at £2.50 by Lupin, on Etsy.

Friday, 18 January 2013


On Thursday night I was at the Lighthouse to hear the decision on the redesign of George Square. It's the main civic square in Glasgow, I work two streets away from it and walk through it every morning. A number of new designs had been tendered to a poor response from the general public, and luckily these were all rejected in favour of a postponement and a bit of a rethink. A mocked-up "option 7" currently doing the rounds harks back to the historic layout of the square, which is more reflective of Glasgow's motto, "dear green place". For now, the square remains the same as it's been since I first visited the city in the mid-90s.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


Too tired for actual crafting tonight, I'm getting caught up with my old pal Kaffe Fassett. I've spent lots of time looking at examples of his intricate knitting motifs, but not as much time finding out about his design process. Did you know many of his knitted motifs started out on historic rugs, antique tapestries or in traditional quilts? Despite this, there's something about the colour selection, texture and scale that lets you know instantly that it's Kaffe.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

No go

Tonight my Aygo became a no-go, cutting out completely and managing to simultaneously block the exit to the train station and the entrance to the petrol station. At the height of rush hour. Then my phone battery died before I could call for help and to top it all, I spent another frustrating and not terribly creative evening trying to track delayed mail packages.

It seems that all the packages I shipped from 16 to 31 December have now arrived at their various international destinations, but if you're a recent customer awaiting a package from me, please do let me know so I can follow up on it. Delivery times are running an average of 4 days behind, so should be with you within three weeks of the date of your dispatch notification. Thanks for your patience.

I hear snow is on the way tonight, here's a 2011 photo of nearby Stirling Castle on a similarly frosty day.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Mardi Gras

I know, not yet.  But this ornamental facade on a building near my house made me think of all the prep people are doing to finish their floats in time for next month, and that if we were in New Orleans, this fleur de lis wouldn't be a dull dismal sludgy grey colour, at the very least it would be purple, gold or green.

Bring on the Hurricanes!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Kitchen creativity

Plenty left over for lunch tomorrow!

Okay, so my future does not belong in food photography.  But I was pleased with the way this hearty winter stew turned out, so I thought I'd share how I did it.

1 medium onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
4 carrots, peeled and chopped however you prefer them (we like rounds)
2 chicken breasts, chopped roughly
2 mini chorizos, chopped in rounds
1 tin butter beans
1 tin chick peas
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1 portion of chicken stock made up with enough water to cover
also would have been nice with some chilli flakes thrown in, and/or fresh ground pepper - the chorizo and stock is salty enough

Serves 4, without extra veg, or stretches to 6 with extra greens on the side - possibly further if you do potatoes or chunky bread.  I think spicy wedges would go nicely with this.

Fry off your garlic and onion, and chuck in the carrots, along with the spices.  Then add the chicken and chorizo and give it a good fry - you can do this in a separate pan and drain off the excess fat, which is what I would have done if I wasn't in a hurry at 7am this morning.  Once the meat is sealed, the stock can go in, and lastly add your tinned veg.  If you like tinned tomatoes, you can have them in it, too, or some red wine would be nice and wintry too, but it is lovely just in the stock.  Give it about an hour to an hour and a half on 180 degrees C, or gas mark 4 or 5 ish.


Saturday, 12 January 2013

Photographic proof of being creative

More about what this actually is for to follow, but I'm pleased that:

a) using a craft knife did not result in the usual trip to A&E

b) this idea turned out to be even better in reality than it was in my head

c) an afternoon of peace and quiet was fantastically productive

Friday, 11 January 2013

In the background

I've been tagging my photo posts as crafting 365, but most of the time I've been showing something in my surroundings while I've been working, instead of the thing I've actually been working on. Today is no exception, unless you'd really like to see a dark, grainy shot of scissors, a guillotine and a pile of chopped up reclaimed cardstock.

Tonight I've been watching a documentary about the design and construction of the Empire State Building, and took this shot because I can see my old apartment building just across the river, to the immediate left of the ESB. It's the right hand one of a pair of 24 storey brown buildings, close to the waterfront. I am seriously contemplating a trip over in February as the prices are incredibly reasonable right now - I want to watch the Oscars live this year, which I haven't done since I lived in the US, and the price of flying over is comparable to having to buy a whole year of Sky TV! I may have to sweet talk my inlaws into letting me stay up all night at their place to watch it.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Stuck in a book

Oh this book is such a treat. Bear with me because most of this post won't make much sense if you aren't from Salford, or Manchester, or 1978. Don't let that put you off the book, though, it's a must read for any fan of popular culture, youth culture, the DIY/punk ethos, or the film 24 Hour Party People.

I keep grinning away to myself at snippets of Tony Wilson's ridiculous banter, a mention of the Town Hall pub in Eccles, St Mary's Hospital, where it is claimed that proper Mancunians are born, and the confirmation, in print, that Mick Hucknall was never there.

To counterbalance this, I am sad that the gig was at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, as I have only sung on stage (with my school choir in the Sting rainforest musical, Yanomamo) in the actual Free Trade Hall. Now it's a hotel, anyway. And I'm sad that Tony (Wilson) and Martin (Hannet) and Ian (Curtis) are no longer with us to reminisce. And I only have 20 pages left to read :(

Stirling sunrise

I was running a little late for work yesterday, but I didn't mind so much because I watched a glorious sunrise from the train. This shot was taken on the approach next to the rugby club, just before the river.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Thoughts about words

I love quotations, I have a few favourites that I keep meaning to do something crafty with and then forgetting about.  I have a particular fondness for the unlikely sage, Nicola Roberts, who rightly points out that 'Beyonce wasn't built in a day', and plan to embroider this onto fabric for our soon-to-be-redecorated bedroom, just above my mirror.

Today I finally got around to reading Saturday's paper and found this new (to me) quote, from dramatist and screenwriter Shelagh Delaney, who is revered in my home town of Salford and many other places besides.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Editing my fabric collection

Is there any more soothing an activity than rooting through the fabric collection on a Sunday afternoon? This vintage geometric print is bang on trend but I'm working on a smaller scale project and the sizing is all wrong. Its time will come, I'm sure.

I've decided to reinstate the sale in my Etsy shop as it was doing so well. There'll be 40% off across the entire shop until the end of January, when some unsold items will disappear for good, and the new ones I've been working on will take their place.

I'm also attempting to do a post a day this year but I'm sure once I'm back in work on Tuesday, this might start to get a bit unsustainable. We'll see.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Poor show

Darice Crafters Toolbox hole punch from eBay, you have failed me. Bent and blunted after two tries through light cardstock. Shame on me for cheating on Fiskars, mind you.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Best seller

These stickers are the current best sellers in my Etsy 50% off sale.  Tomorrow's the last full day of bargains, so do stock up while you have the chance.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Line up

No, my house isn't on fire, I think I must need to clean the lens on my phone camera.  I'm trying to do a quick post a day to take advantage of the fact that my phone and iPad both have cameras and it's pretty convenient, the only problem I'm finding is that most of my crafting is done by night.  While it's been sunny in the day time since the start of the year, I've been wrangling a toddler so taking photos is at best inconvenient, or when we're out and about, can be a bit dangerous.  This is a last set of notecards in this style and colour, which are on their way to London as I type. 

I don't have any more of this particular card stock left, but I do have more cards already made up in a postage stamp and security envelope patterns, made with this lovely grey card that came from deadstock in Arizona.  I'll have to get the security envelope bunting ones in the shop asap - another thing for the 2013 to do list!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Front page!

So I curated another Etsy Europe front page.  I would be delighted to own any of these items, but I particular love the handmade notebook, the fake tattoos and the silver book.  Lovely!

I love the constellation leggings, too, but would also need someone to buy me the pins to go with them...

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

The general consensus seems to be that 2012 was rubbish.  Already, 2013 is shaping up to be a better year.  The sun came out.  I cleaned the cat wee smell out of my car (Kipper stowed away last week, luckily I noticed him before I got to Asda, went straight round the roundabout and dropped him home again).  I hit 250 sales on Etsy.  And I made a new batch of thank you cards to pop in with future orders.  Hurrah!