24 May 2016

Cambo wild food fest

I was looking for something to do on the holiday Monday earlier this month, and after a bit of Googling I discovered that there was a free wild food event going on at Cambo! It goes to show that it's always worth keeping an eye on what's happening in your local area. I love visiting the gardens at Cambo anyway, and hadn't been there in a while. Luckily the rain cleared up in time for me arriving there.
There were various things going on, and I decided to go on a foraging walk with Monica Wilde. I later found out that she runs Napiers the herbalist, whose Edinburgh shop has been one of my favourite haunts since my student days.
Monica was really knowledgeable and interesting to listen to. It was amazing how many edible plants you could find in a small area. Along the way we tasted various flowers and leaves, and she gave hints and tips on how to recognise them (and tell them apart from their poisonous cousins!). When she started talking about mast cells in relation to hay fever, I realised just how knowledgeable she was on the science behind the medicinal uses of the plants!
I seemed to be about the only person on the walk who wasn't there with their children or grandchildren. I find it a bit sad that people think they can only go and do fun things for the sake of their children! The walk was just as interesting for adults.
The walk lasted for about an hour, but the time seemed to pass very quickly. Afterwards I watched a cooking demonstration where a chef showed how to make a delicious and beautiful salad using various foraged items. I also tasted a couple of seaweeds from Mara Seaweed, sprinkled over slices of apple, and ended up buying some of their Shony seaweed which had a taste that reminded me of Japan.
Before I drove home, I headed back to the side of the stream to gather a few handfuls of wild garlic. When I got home I used this to make a pesto using cashew nuts, and a soup. I was also really excited to be able to make a small salad from edible leaves and flowers I found in my own garden!
I've really been bitten by the foraging bug! I brought home a little leaflet, but I'm planning to buy a guidebook on the subject soon, so that I can get started foraging on my own. It reminds me of when I was a child with my wildflowers guide, but with the added bonus of being able to eat the things I spot!

Blogger Tricks

21 May 2016

Spring stationery

One of my Instagram contacts posted a photo of the Spring Box of Lame, by the ironically named That Lame Company, and I fell in love with the stationery included in it, so I decided to treat myself.
I really liked the design of some of the items included, and thought they would help in my quest to become ever more organised.
And there was an amazingly cute little pin of a kawaii cupcake! I've been wanting to add some more pins to my small collection, and this one was perfect!
I also particularly liked this print saying "Don't be afraid of being different". Oh, and the twig pencil!

19 May 2016

Recently thrifted

I recently went to the Vintage Weekend which was held in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh. As well as a variety show, fashion show, and vintage cars, there were a number of stalls selling vintage items.

The very first stall had a couple of crates with items for just £2 each, and I immediately spotted this pack of cards with illustrations of a multitude of different flowering plants. I love unusual playing cards, illustrations, and flowers, so these were perfect for me!
I bought them not knowing much about them, but it appears it's a sort of Happy Families type game. But I just like looking at them!

They are the sort of item I could imagine giving away as freebies with Etsy orders, if I could bear to part with any, which I can't, and I'm not selling anything I could give them away with anyway! They would also make good bookmarks.
I also bought an amazing 1970s long dress in Armstrongs, after being inspired by the fashion show. It's black with a floral design. I don't have any photos of me wearing it yet, but here's the pattern!

17 May 2016

Grassmarket Vintage Weekend

At the end of last month I went to the Vintage Weekend that was held in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh.
I wasn't sure what it would be like, but it turned out to be really good. There was a variety show, a fashion show, stalls selling vintage items and doing vintage hair and make-up, lots of vintage cars, and there was also a food market and a fire engine!
The thing that struck me most was that lots of people (not just those appearing on stage) had made an effort either to wear something vintage, or at least brightly-coloured or strikingly monochrome, or had a vintage hairstyle or make-up. It made a difference from the drab outfits I often see people wearing when out doing a day's shopping in Edinburgh. It was a perfect occasion for people-watching and street photography. I wore a restyled vintage dress, secondhand tweed coat, cat's eye glasses, and winged eyeliner.

There was a real buzz about the place that reminded me of the Fringe festival. One couple (the lady is the one in the turquoise coat and yellow hat in one of the photos at the top of the post) started doing an impromptu swing dance! And I couldn't believe that the weather stayed dry and sunny! I also really enjoyed watching the fashion show, starring some of my favourite local bloggers!

14 May 2016

Demonstration meal at the Waterfront Restaurant

Last month I had an amazing meal with some friends at the Waterfront Restaurant in Kirkcaldy. It was a demonstration meal, with the chef Tom Pratt showing how each course was prepared. It was a delicious meal, and a great chance to try some things I hadn't eaten before. And the demonstration gave lots of helpful hints and tips.
I didn't end up taking a lot of photos, as I wanted to concentrate on enjoying the food, the company of friends, and the demo. But I couldn't resist taking some photos of the stunning dessert!

12 May 2016

Clangers birthday cards

Here are the birthday cards I made for my parents - and they are Clangers themed!

1. I started out with some of the colouring designs from the BBC website to use as templates. 
2. I cut the main shape of each Clanger from pink textured card.
3. Then cut out the other pieces from different colours.
4. Stuck it all together.

5. And added details with pen.
6. Finally I added some glittery stars!

The soup dragon and iron chicken appear to approve!

10 May 2016

Emma's First Taste of Japan

It's here at last! The project that I've been working on non-stop for the past 6 months (and had started some years before that) is finally finished, and is available for sale from today on Etsy!

Emma’s First Taste of Japan is my first ever e-book. It's a 40 page illustrated travel e-zine with hand-drawn illustrations throughout. The drawings are monochrome with red and pink accents. It’s the story of my first trip to Japan, and is released to coincide with the 10th anniversary of that 2006 trip. I left for that trip on the 10th of May 2006, so today is exactly 10 years on!

Experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Japan through my eyes. Not only did I visit all the usual sights, but I got “all templed out” on my very first morning, had a wet shoe embarrassment, a misunderstanding about blood and a bin, and a Breakfast at Tiffany’s scene re-enactment!
The zine is available as an immediate PDF download here (as soon as payment is confirmed), and can be viewed on a tablet, phone or computer. It also comes with a bonus second PDF showing some of my preliminary sketches.

It's been a lot of hard work, but I'm really delighted with how it has turned out! I hope you enjoy it!

07 May 2016

Another teaser...

I can now tell you that the secret project I've been working on is an illustrated e-book, and I'll be releasing it on the 10th of May which is the anniversary of the day I left for my first trip to Japan. The e-book/zine is all about that trip. I'll tell you all the details on Tuesday!

The picture above shows some of my preliminary sketches from when I first began this project.