Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A curious Christmas

I took part in the fabulous Curious Christmas project from The Curiosity Box (aka wedding planner Tiffany Grant-Riley) over the festive period.

For those who haven't come across it, the idea is to create a box of festive curiosities for a stranger, and receive one in return. Participants provide their address and a bit of blurb about the things they like, which Tiffany swaps around. You fill a box with curious gifts (bought, found or made), and when you get a box of your own you 'share the love' on the Curiosity Box blog. Such a simple way of spreading happiness and bringing people together!

It was such a joy pulling together items for the box I was making, then keeping an eye out on the blog to see whether it was appreciated (funny that so many boxes seem to have suited their recipients so well!).

And receiving a box of my own filled me with all sorts of warm and fuzzy. I can't wait for the next curious project.

New year new you

This blog has been lying abandoned and abused for far too long. I'm not going to set myself a challenge this year (last year's failed so spectacularly) but I am going to start posting again.

For library/work-related happenings, I'll still be using, whisper it, The Other Blog (Librarian of Tomorrow).

For photography, I've started another Project 365 (or rather 366 this year), on Flickr (if I make it past March it'll be a miracle).

Crafty bits, books and any other nonsense will be posted here. Maybe.

There, a blogging resolution I can probably stick to. Probably.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Year of pleasures #15: How to make an American quilt

SO it's been a while since I blogged here, as usual. Partly it's because I've just gone back to work, and I'm working towards Chartership (see my other blog, Librarian of Tomorrow). But mainly it's because I've been quilting.

I've always wanted to make a patchwork quilt (technically not an American quilt but I liked the title!). Mum got me a Moda charm pack for Christmas and I've spent the last few months stitching away, with the help of the lovely ladies at the sadly-no-longer-with-us Sally Bourne haberdashery in Crouch End, who helped me pick out fabrics.

I'm stitching it by hand, which makes it a much slower process, but I think it's more satisfying than using a machine (and I was rubbish at machine sewing in Home Ec!).

My quilting stitch needs work, and I've still to do the border and binding, but I'm pretty damn proud of this thing I've created. I'm hoping it'll be the first of many, but even if I never stitch again I've got a wonderful quilty heirloom that will be part of our family picnics from now till forever.

Rows stitched

All the squares

Inner border

Outer border and wadding

Stitching detail

Year of pleasures #14: Haircuts

I love getting my hair cut. These days it's just nice to get an hour or two to myself, but I've always loved it - taking the time to sit down, read a trashy magazine that I'd never dare buy and have a cuppa while someone makes my hair look prettier than I ever could.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Year of pleasures #13: glamping!

Although I hate that word, it was constructed by the media to make camping somehow hip and down with the kids, when actually anyone who camps knows it's never been uncool.

Yes, the Hoxton crowd may just have discovered it and yes, you no longer have to choose between a '70s-decor static caravan or sleeping on rocks under your own poorly-erected canvas, but camping in a yurt, a gypsy caravan or an eco pod (like we did) is still camping, as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, much fun was had by all! The pods at the Camping and Caravanning Club site at Bellingham in beautiful Northumberland are much recommended. I thought we'd struggle to get us and both kids in (Logan slept in mum and dad's caravan) but the family next door had two teenage daughters and two dogs, so as long as you don't mind getting cosy it's a winner!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Positive vibes

My Arizona friend Mead writes over on her blog Desert Lovelies, a creative, thoughtful place to hang out and be inspired.

One of her recent posts was about positive affirmations, a way of taking the negative energy in your life and turning it around. A little too far out for some (especially in the cynical media world I work in) but I'm going to give it a try and see if I can shake off some of the negative energy that's been fogging my brain recently.

If nothing else, it'll give me a nice creative project to be getting on with!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Year of pleasures #12: Swimming

I've been lax of late, partly lost the inspiration and partly distracted by my professional blog. Think of it as an extended holiday!

Ella and I started baby swimming lessons last week, and she's really enjoying herself! It's nice to spend half an hour in the water with her, and with all the other parents and babies. She's not quite confident enough to go underwater yet, but she's having a lot of fun, and so am I!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Wills and Kate shop windows

There's an optician in Muswell Hill that always has themed displays in papier mache. They had an impressive one for the election last year, and they've done it again for the royal wedding. Loving the corgies!

I saw the most alarming one so far today, in a Thai restaurant in Crouch End. I'm sure Kate will be thrilled...

Year of pleasure #11: Pretty socks

I've been on a bit of a downer over the past few weeks, not sure why really just lots of things getting on top of me (house moving getting nowhere, juggling finances, lack of sleep). I'm having a proper little pity party today!

It means the little things that wouldn't normally annoy me make me so irate! It took me an hour this morning just to tidy the house for today's viewings - not clean, no dusters or bathroom spray were involved, just picking up things and putting them away. It doesn't really matter but I was stomping around the house swearing profusely under my breath. Ella must have thought I'd gone mad!

Two things cheered me up - my lovely mum 'babysitting' Ella over the phone while I dashed round (thanks Mum!) and putting on these pretty cherry socks. Weird how something seemingly inconsequential can make me smile and completely change my mood. Yay socks!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Wolverine, by Leinil Yu

Leinil Yu is the smiliest, nicest man in comics. I asked if he was doing sketches or just signing, and he signed my book for me with a quick sketch, apologising profusely all the while that he wasn't doing sketches. What a sweetie! It might be just a quicky but I'd love to be able to sketch like that in five seconds.

Check out Leinil Yu on DeviantArt and at his art dealer's site.

Batman, by Michael Lee-Graham

Lovely man, lovely drawing, just generally lovely.

Hulk, by Paul Davidson

I think this represented how he was feeling at the time - if you have a raging hangover the last place you want to be is sat at a desk in a brightly lit, over-air conditioned conference hall having to engage with occasionally intense fanboys (and girls). Nice job though.

Paul Davidson's website is here.

Batman, by Simon Bisley

The man is a genius, just open and honest and sweary and lovely (and he'd probably shout me down for saying so). He drew upside down in my book, which may have been due to the amount of Stella he'd consumed but still, it has a nice batlike ring to it.

More Simon Bisley here.

Batman, by Sean Phillips

Mark went for the full painting but I like my Sean Phillips black and white sketch.

Batman, by Craig Wilson

Craig drew one of my favourite Batmen (can that be plural?). I love his take on Red Riding Hood too. Check out his work and follow his blog for more pieces.

Batman, by Kev Crossley

Lovely bloke, happy to chat, drew some amazing pieces over the weekend. Check out his artwork over on The Art of Kev Crossley.

Batman, by Dan Francis

Dan is a student training to work in 3D video gaming, but he still drew me a cool Batman.

Batman, by Philip Johnson (he apologised for the crap Bat symbol bless him)

More from Philip Johnson at DeviantArt.

Domino, by Filipe Andrade

Check out Filipe Andrade's blog for more.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Sean Phillips flick book

How to draw the White Queen in seven easy steps!

There are more photos in the seequence but I didn't want to bore you so I'll post them to my Flickr stream instead. Check out Sean's blog and website for more of his work.

The finished product.