24 February 2020

Recently thrifted

I’ve been trying to cut down on my clothes spending since I participated in Secondhand September. From September to December I didn’t buy any clothing other than a few pairs of tights. I allowed myself a little splurge after Christmas and bought a dress from Zuri Kenya, which was expensive but ethically produced. I also did a bit of charity shop shopping.

I got two items that I love, both from the same shop, and both monochrome. The houndstooth check dungarees needed a little sewing adjustment, as the straps didn’t extend quite as long as I needed them. But it was a simple thing to do. The spotty t-shirt is a Marimekko/Uniqlo one, both brands that I have been interested in for a while but never bought anything by.

I’ve been wearing the dungarees lots since I got them. They go well with a thin jumper in autumnal tones that I got for Christmas. I have only worn the t-shirt once so far, because it’s not been warm enough to do so, but I know it’s something I’ll get a lot of wear out of once the weather gets warmer.

I also bought a dress to wear at New Year. It's got a bit of a revealing neckline, so needs a vest underneath! It's also very short. I probably won't keep it long-term, but I like the combination of fabrics so I'll wear it a few more times before taking it back to the charity shop (I suppose I can think of it as renting a dress for a while!).

23 February 2020

Making Memories

After Christmas I bought myself the book The Art of Making Memories by Meik Wiking. I have enjoyed Meik Wiking’s other books, and my friend Marceline had told me that she felt that she and I both create and record our memories in many of the ways recommended in the book, so I was interested to read about this subject. 

I took lots of notes from the book, then transferred them to my bullet journal (the bullet journal itself being one of the many ways that I plan memorable experiences and record them) - I took so many notes that I needed a couple of double-page spreads to write them down! I also record my memories in lots of other ways like my diary, blog, photos, moleskine sketchbook, travel journals, and collecting souvenirs. Zoom in on the pictures above to see the things I found most interesting in the book. I based my drawings on the lovely illustrations in the book.
One of my favourite concepts in the book was the idea of the hippocampus in the brain as a hippo that is a film director, and the idea of feeding that hippo by paying full attention to all aspects of the scene around us.

20 February 2020

Mini card

The younger of my nephews has always been obsessed with Minis, so sooner or later I had to make a Mini card for his birthday! I found a cool patterned paper, so it looks like the car is driving through a rugged landscape of hills!

17 February 2020

Solar system nails

A few months ago I treated myself to a solar system bracelet from Braceletts (not an ad, I just really love my bracelet!). It’s got various semi-precious stones representing the planets as follows, with a golden ring around Saturn, and black beads to represent the void of space. 
Mercury - Deep Sea Scallop 
Venus - Gold Foil Beads 
Moon - Opal 
Earth - King Turquoise 
Mars - Red Agate 
Jupiter - Tiger Eye 
Saturn - Whitelip Shell 
Uranus - Blue Cat Eye 
Neptune – Lapis 
I thought it would be fun to paint my nails in a similar fashion, so I looked through my collection of nail polishes and chose those that I felt best represented the planets. I wanted to have my favourites Jupiter and Saturn as the thumb nails, so unlike the bracelet I didn't include the Moon. But I did add in the dwarf planet Pluto instead! It's not really obvious, but I put a stripe down the middle of the Saturn nail to represent its rings.

I also thought that the M&S chocolates I got for Christmas looked like planets, so it was the perfect photo opportunity! I didn't realise until now that the plate they were sitting on looks like stars in space!

15 February 2020

2019 books

I haven’t yet shared my list of the books I read last year, so here it is. I read slightly less than I had in other years, especially towards the end of the year. But I’ve been making up for that since the new year started! 

I read books mostly by women, with, I think, 8 out of 48 being by men. I read books by a couple of local authors, Val McDermid and Jenny Colgan, a couple of fascinating books about algorithms by Hannah Fry and Cathy O’Neil, and some books in French, most of which were graphic novels. 

I read some series, or bits of them, including Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, some Tony Hill/Carol Jordan books by Val McDermid, some of the Brunetti books by Donna Leon, the Rosie Hopkins books by Jenny Colgan, and started a reread of the Rei Shimura books by Sujata Massey. 

My favourite factual books this year were Joyful, which was really inspiring, and Invisible Women which I think everyone should read. In terms of fiction I most enjoyed the Val McDermid and Sujata Massey books, and I’m planning to read more of theirs this year.

This was also the year that I moved away from reading so much on my Kindle - most of the books were paper books. That's continued into this year.
  1. The Wild Remedy - Emma Mitchell
  2. Joyful - Ingrid Fetell Lee
  3. My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante
  4. The Prodigal Tongue - Lynne Murphy
  5. Invisible Women - Caroline Criado Perez
  6. Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan
  7. Hello World - Hannah Fry
  8. The Secret Lives of Colour - Kassia St Clair
  9. The Curated Closet - Anuschka Rees
  10. Weapons of Math Destruction - Cathy O'Neil
  11. Gossip from the Forest - Sara Maitland
  12. China Rich Girlfriend - Kevin Kwan
  13. Rich People Problems - Kevin Kwan
  14. Tell Me of a Girl - L H Johnson
  15. Fever of the Bone - Val McDermid
  16. The Retribution - Val McDermid
  17. La Différence Invisible - Mademoiselle Caroline et Julie Dachez
  18. Cross and Burn - Val McDermid
  19. Splinter the Silence - Val McDermid
  20. Insidious Intent - Val McDermid
  21. Daisy Jones & the Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid
  22. All Systems Red - Martha Wells
  23. How to Live Plastic Free - Marine Conservation Society
  24. Short Stories in French - Olly Richards and Richard Simcott
  25. Indian Takeaway - Hardeep Singh Kohli
  26. Écumes - Ingrid Chabbert et Carole Maurel
  27. Love For Imperfect Things - Haemin Sunim
  28. Record of a Spaceborn Few - Becky Chambers
  29. Meet Me at the Cupcake Café - Jenny Colgan
  30. A Noble Radiance - Donna Leon
  31. Fatal Remedies - Donna Leon
  32. Friends in High Places - Donna Leon
  33. A Sea of Troubles - Donna Leon
  34. No One is Too Small to Make a Difference - Greta Thunberg
  35. Wilful Behaviour - Donna Leon
  36. Because Internet - Gretchen McCulloch
  37. The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
  38. The Bellwether Revivals - Benjamin Wood
  39. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  40. The Salaryman's Wife - Sujata Massey
  41. Zen Attitude - Sujata Massey
  42. The Flower Master - Sujata Massey
  43. The Distant Echo - Val McDermid
  44. The Floating Girl - Sujata Massey
  45. War of the Worlds - H G Wells
  46. A Darker Domain - Val McDermid
  47. Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop - Jenny Colgan
  48. The Christmas Surprise - Jenny Colgan

09 February 2020

Fun a Day Dundee: Vietnam illustrations

This year I took part in Fun a Day Dundee, which takes place in January. It's all about doing something fun (usually creative) during the endlessly dark and tedious first month of the year.
Because I'd been to Vietnam at the end of November and it was still fresh in my mind, I decided to base my project on that. I thought of all the things I'd seen in Vietnam that felt iconic of that country.
I wanted to create a somewhat retro style of illustration that looked like it had been printed, so I learned a lot of new skills in Procreate, like using halftone images and slightly mis-matching the alignment of the layers. Towards the end of the month I also treated myself to some mid-century brushes from Bardot Brush, so that I could create an ink-bleed look and some other retro effects.

I really enjoyed being part of Fun a Day Dundee and posting my illustrations on Instagram every day. I'm hoping that there's going to be an exhibition of everyone's work soon!

06 February 2020

Hello, Robot exhibition

I recently went to the Hello, Robot exhibition at the V&A in Dundee, and I really enjoyed it. It had a brighter and calmer atmosphere than the robots exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland last year, so I found it an altogether more pleasant experience to spend time sketching in this exhibition!
My favourite thing about the exhibition was how cute some of the robots were! I decided to draw the cutest ones in my Moleskine.
I really liked this piece by Douglas Coupland, one of my favourite authors. The slogans were thought-provoking, and it was really colourful (and it makes a good selfie background!). I was pleased that I could get postcards of a few of the posters.

There was a little library area at the entrance to the exhibition, including some of my favourites like Asimov and Hannah Fry. I got a look there at The Wild Robot, which I'd been interested in for a while, and I bought it soon afterwards.
I found the closest approximation to my job on this website, and it seems like I won't be replaced by a robot just yet!

03 February 2020

May Morris exhibition

Last month I went to see the May Morris exhibition at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh. May Morris was the daughter of William Morris, and was responsible for creating many of his company's iconic designs. It was fascinating to see her work, including initial sketches and finished items.
Of course, I wore an appropriately floral outfit, with my Rosa Pietsch earrings which got a lot of lovely comments during the day!
I sketched some of my favourite items in my Moleskine, and coloured it in with appropriate colours when I got home. In the Dovecot shop I bought a keyring and luggage tag in a Morris design, and a postcard of May Morris. 

I also bought soap and a shampoo bar that day from The Edinburgh Natutal Skincare Co, and I thought that the bags they came in matched well with May Morris's designs!
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