Life getting in the way a bit

So i’m aware i haven’t blogged for a while but as the title says – Life’s been getting in the way a bit. In a good way though. Since moving house and in the last few weeks, i’ve read more, seen some great movies, discovered some great vintage shops/jumble sales/car boot sales in my new locale and have even picked up a crochet hook again (though less said about that, the better…). My daughter has also started School nursery a couple of afternoons which has given me time to write this.

So – recent media consumed includes:

Films –

The Descendants (Clooney, cried buckets)
Harry Potter and the last whatsit (you know, the last one – was pretty good)
A Dangerous Method (Cronenberg – Jung v Freud – Keira Knightley a revelation; Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen wonderful as always)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (recent prequel with James Franco, Freida Pinto and John Lithgow as well as rent-a-creature Andy Serkis. Was so much better than i thought it would be. Those Apes were ANGRY)
Disney’s Brave at the cinema with TheYoungLady (twice! – as i said to someone – possibly the first Disney heroine who didn’t make me want to puke. Lots of stuff about changing your fate and i cried at the mom/daughter bit. It was good)
Volcano – (not new i know but have never seen it. Great disaster movie and Tommy Lee Jones – whaddaguy!)

Books

We were the Mulvaneys – Joyce Carol Oates. I found this a struggle as the pace is slow but it was a rewarding read.
The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins. Couldn’t quite believe these were kids books – glad i read them before seeing the film. Wonderful.
The Fifty Shades Trilogy – EL James. Amazingly badly written tripe. (nb – not me being prudish – there were definately some sexy bits but it was so badly written and Grey and Anastasia so unlikeable)
The Ice Princess – Camilla Lackberg. Now, i do normally love Scandi-crime but got a bit bored with this and didn’t finish it.
11.22.63 – Stephen King. Read even less of this. Time portal at the back of a diner where the protagonist can maybe chnge history and stop the assassination of JFK? Nah. Gave up.
Going to attempt some Leo Tolstoy next (War and Peace or Anna Karenina?)
I also quite like this new magazine http://www.thesimplethings.com/ and Mollie Makes Both of which are just too darned cute.

Recent thrift/bargains loot

Am heading to St Ives, Cornwall, UK for a week’s holiday soon where i’ll hopefully return from laden with all manner of artsy, hippy, surfy stuff. Looking forward to visiting Tate St Ives gallery and maybe the Barbara Hepworth museum – loads of small galleries and artists studios to visit too.

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By Charlie’s Hand – on folksy.com

I’ll be honest – i’m very new to Folksy and Etsy, despite being a fan of crafty stuff. I much prefer Folksy though as it seems be more genuinely supportive of British craft and designers. I find Etsy (on admittedly the few browses i’ve had) a bit too much like Ebay ie: anyone selling stuff can call it ‘vintage’ but perhaps i’ve just been reading too much about rogue Etsy sellers on regretsy

So, one discovery has been the handmade papercut prints By Charlie’s Hand which are quite beautiful. I particularly like the following designs:

You can also read an interview with the owner/designer/maker Ms Charlie Trimm on the Folksy magazine here. It’s no surprise she’s a fan of Robert Ryan who’s craft is also paper-cutting/screen printing but whose designs are much more intricate and detailed. I really like By Charlie’s Hand though and can easily see any of her pieces in my home.

 

Miso Funky – I Heart Gin

If, like me you enjoy an occasional #ginoclock and also like to try your hand at something crafty (thats not too complicated), you could do no worse than to head to www.misofunky.com for their cute coaster declaration of love for the tipple.

Miso Funky is a Glasgow based online craft emporium designing and selling their own crosstitch designs and samplers with a very modern twist. They also stock Emily Peacock needlepoint kits for the more skilled stitcher. I particularly like their own ‘Sniff Glue Worship Satan’ sampler:

This particularly cute cros-stitch ring by Manchester-based Magasin:

 

And the Happy Fucking Birthday Card (though its sold out – hope there’s more stock to come!)

Definately not for your granny.

 

Gillian Kyle – new Seaside Cafe range

Am a big fan of Gillian Kyle and regularly buy her gorgeous printed homewares and gifts feauturing iconic Scottish popular cultural/food ~ including the likes of Tunnocks Teacakes and wafers, Scottish Pride Bread, Irn Bru and Creamola Foam – for friends and family, particularly those down south who may not be so au-fait with the delights of a Glasgow Breakfast. They are available online at www.gilliankyle.com and at various quirky gift shops around the country (including the gift shop at Glasgow Airport i noticed the other day!).

Her new Seaside Cafe range includes mugs, teatowels, a canvas tote bag, coasters and an art print in gorgeous summery retro ice cream-themed in shades of pink and blue (very this S/S12 in fashion-speak too!). Add a bit of summery nostalgia to your kitchen – go on!

The not-so perfect princess and the dreaded pony

Not, in fact the start of some alt-Disney story that you may be panicking your daughter/niece/annoying children belonging to your friends/annoying mums at work/ annoying blogger talking cack etc are all about to start driving you mad with every finite detail about but in fact just today’s Charity shop loot.

I really should make a page listing with pics all the cool stuff i’ve managed to get either in charity shops, off Ebay, at some slightly manky vintage stall etc. Over the past 20 years or so i’ve picked up some great items including: 3 Tretchikoff Chinese girl pictures (Ebay but went to collect as the seller lived in Chiswick and used to have a shop in Portobello Road – i nearly died in his house – SOO much fabulous stuff); a JH Lynch Tina picture (charity shop), i did have some big-eyed kids but they creeped me out a bit so i sold them; some Troika pottery for my mum (off Ebay a few years ago – i now wouldn’t be able to afford them); a (genuine!) Louis Vuitton speedy bag (charity shop) and matching large purse in another charity shop at the opposite end of the country; a host of 1950s clocks, numerous items of clothing and handbags and recently a cracking crochet granny blanket (charity shop) and was given a wonderful 1950s knitting bag and 80s deco book for Mothers Day and my mum picked me a vintage 1940s/50s crochet hook set from an Antiques fair in Birmingham last week. In addition to the choice pieces, i also have picked up ugly clothes that don’t fit, books i’ve never read and more recently all manner of kids toys and books for TheYoungLady so its not all cool vintage stuff but i still love a rummage and once i’ve moved house (being in this process has curtailed my natural hoarding a bit!) i’ll be ramping it up again with a focus on homewares.

However, in the meantime, i’m going to start noting here what i pick up. Today i was with TheYoungLady and whilst the films of Bambi and Beauty and The Beast would’ve been the real coups of the day they were sadly on VHS not DVD. So we got a book about The Not-So Perfect Princess (who thinks dresses are rubbish for jumping in puddles or climbing trees in – right on!) and a faux My Little Pony with some serious purple dreads.

Takkoda – refreshingly un-cutesey animals

I don’t really do cutesey but i do love animals. Thankfully Takkoda‘s gifts, homewares and cards just add to the animals personalities. A lot of fun (and no glitter or bunnies in sight…)

Betty, Vintage Life, Mollie Makes, Homes&Antiques

I read far too many magazines and am fairly indiscriminate across the glut of womens, health and lifestyle mags. From weekly Grazia and the occasional Heat to Health and Fitness, Zest, Womens Running and Yoga Journal via Elle, Red, Easy Living, Vogue and even Harpers Bazaar. The last three were cheap subscription deals in an attempt to save money and stop buying trashy weeklies and read something a bit more grown up. With Vogue and Harpers certainly, they do have some great essays and i feel like i do learn the odd thing about art or culture in between the millions of pounds of luxury brand advertising holding these magazines together.

The fashion and lifestyle portrayed by these magazines is however so far removed from me though – whilst i love fashion, i’m still sadly largely in mum/comfy jeans and jumpers most days still half-expecting to be covered in wee/poo/yogurt three years on and as £100 is my Ebay limit, i hardly qualify for the jet-set lifestyle required to maintain the image the glossy mags portray, and needless to say i am not quite *ahem* model size – that i have started feeling quite ridiculous for reading them and so have been looking for alternatives which are a bit more realistic, down to earth and more honestly reflecting my interests.

Before Christmas, after reading about Betty on Twitter (i think it may have been Lauren Laverne?) i ordered the Winter edition. A real treat and full of inspiring (and affordable) quirky, vintagey fashion, hair and make-up aswell as interviews with up and coming designers and great cooking recipes (i made the Tomato Chutney from their blog and it was fantastic). You should sign up to receive updates from their blog which are always lovely.

Another very recent discovery is Vintage Life, which does what it says on the tin. More gorgeous Vintage inspired fashion and lifestyle with a focus this month on Mad Men style and dressing for the rain but using vintage-bought pieces as well as affordable high street and reinforcing my love of the Mac, aswell as vintage hair-styling for the rain too. A fascinating piece on Josephine Baker, a great article on perfecting your cupcake icing (which i am Rubbish at) and some excellent event and retail listings. You can pick it up in WH Smith or subscribe.

Over the past year i have been making some (initially abortive) attempts at learning crafts and am currently on the way to finishing my first crochet blanket. So, looking for a bit of inspiration, a glance at the crafty section of WH Smiths generally leaves me feeling overwhelmed and/or old before my time. However, Mollie Makes is a beautiful magazine which includes a free crafty gift (the lst two issues have included a kit to crochet a flower brooch and some very pretty vintagey buttons). Its byline is ‘making, thrifting, collecting, crafting’ and includes inspiring interiors, projects and chats with designers, crafters and folk involved in making/finding beautiful things. The photography is just gorgeous throughout and whilst i haven’t started any of the projects yet, i’ll be keeping all the mags to give them a go in future. The current issue’s projects incude a cool beenie hat, slouchy slipper boots and a granny square cushion.

When at my folks, my mum inevitably has a pile of magazines about fantastic homes in the countryside and/or Cornwall aswell as Antiques. I normally leaf through these fairly quickly but the BBC magazine Homes & Antiques has been focussing more on vintage lifestyle and collectibles and whilst i normally just read my mums copy, i actually bought this months copy myself. Well worth picking up if you are interested in vintage homewares but also some great articles on vintage dress patterns and jewellery.

Polish Folk Paper Cut Art (Wycinanki)

Whilst on a recent trip home to see the folks, we popped in, as always to Wolverhampton Art Gallery which had some really interesting craft displays on (and still on till 14 April) with the exhibition The Joy of Making. The Polish folk paper cut designs (known as Wycinanki) were particularly stunning. You can read more here http://www.wolverhamptonart.org.uk/exhibitions/004785.html and i took a (poor) picture below.

i also did some googling and there are some stunning examples at the links below. Some of it is quite naive in style but i like it.

http://www.polishfolkart.com/x_C_Dz__P2_8310000.html

http://www.polskiinternet.com/english/info/artpaper.html

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=polish+folk+paper+art&qpvt=polish+folk+paper+art&FORM=IGRE#x0y0

 

 

Crochet baby!

I learning to crochet – my mum actually taught me just before Mothers Day. I’m not interested in all the delicate flowers and spidery-web cardigans at all.  I want to make blankets, big chunky cosy blankets i can wrap myself in when i’m watching tv, reading  book etc. This is my first effort and am halfway through ball number 2. The first ball was grey and the second is kind of speckled blue and grey. I like it and the missed stitches will add character no?