23 June 2018

Educational Illustration exhibition

How? Why? What? was the name of this small exhibition at Edinburgh University Library. It was full of the sort of thing I love – retro educational illustrations. I love children’s book illustrations, and scientific illustrations, and there were plenty of both!
I did find one of the information signs hilarious, though! It made me feel really old that visitors would need to be told that before the internet books were used!






21 June 2018

Christian Aid book sale 2018 part 2

This year, as well as going to the sale at St Andrew’s and St George’s on the Saturday, I went on the Monday to all three sales (the others being at Holy Corner and Nicholson Square). I didn’t get a huge lot at the other two, so I’m not sure if I’ll go back. But I do love going back to the St Andrew’s and St George’s one when it’s quieter so I can have a good look at the ephemera section without having to fight my way in! 
I got some amazing retro finds including a jewellery making catalogue from the year I was born, a Curly Wurly badge, and some cookbooks.

Some other great finds were on architecture. I'm really interested in post-war architecture, so two of the books were great for that, and another on the National Trust for Scotland's little houses had lots of local interest.


I also found some great natural history booklets that have fold-out illustrations at the back, some lovely illustrated Japanese postcards, and a book about weaving in Peru (really interesting because I've seen traditional weavers at work there!).



19 June 2018

Wild flower bouquet

One of the things on my summer could-do list was to pick a wild flower bouquet. I had always thought it was illegal to pick bluebells, but I looked it up and apparently it’s only a problem if you dig up the bulbs or sell the flowers. So I went out on a walk to a little area of woodland near my house and picked some bluebells and other flowers. I took a jam jar with water in it, so that the flowers would not wilt on the way back to the house.





18 June 2018

Glasgow School of Art


Just a few weeks ago I was watching a documentary about Charles Rennie Mackintosh with my parents, which had been made to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth, and I covered my eyes at the images of the 2014 fire at Glasgow School of Art. A few days later my blog was mentioned as "further reading" about his Japanese symbolism for those attending a talk at a library in Kansas City, Missouri.

Then, a week after that, I looked at Twitter first thing in the morning and wondered why someone was mentioning the fire that had happened four years ago. But it wasn't that fire, it was another, much more devastating one.

I was so saddened by the previous fire that I did a whole month of craft projects inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, as my own way of dealing with how I felt about it. If you'd like to see these and more, click here.

There is a major exhibition of Mackintosh's work at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which I was planning to visit anyway this summer, so I think I will move that visit forward and go as soon as I can.

17 June 2018

Harran Hill bluebells


A chance comment on someone’s Instagram photo of Ravenscraig Park in Kirkcaldy, where I usually go to see the bluebells each year, clued me in to the idea that Harran Hill at Lochore Meadows was also an amazing place to see them, so Dad and I headed there on a sunny day during my belated Easter holidays to explore.
We ended up following a lady up the hill who was doing a survey of the bluebells for the Scottish Bluebell Society (or something like that!).
The bluebells were lovely, although they hadn’t quite hit their peak when we were there. They formed a blue haze over the forest floor.








15 June 2018

Cowden Japanese garden


The reopening of the Sha-ra-kuen Japanese garden at Cowden is something I’ve been waiting a long time for. When I became interested in Japanese gardens, I looked online to find out if there were any in Scotland, and I heard about this garden which had sadly been vandalised in the 60s and was not open to the public.
A few years later I began to hear rumours that the garden was being renovated, and would be opened up to the public eventually. I began to follow the progress on Facebook, and they were finally able to have an open day at the start of June (and are hoping to be fully open soon).
The garden was every bit as amazing as I’d hoped, with every turn leading me to think, “No, *this* is my favourite bit!”. 
The garden centres around a large pond, with various bridges and lanterns. The large arched bridge was not open, but they are hoping to add a handrail and open it up. The zigzag bridge is meant to represent the twists and turns of life. The lanterns have been rescued after being pushed into the water, which is why some of them are incomplete.
The rhododendrons were in full bloom, which made it look really spectacular. And the water was so still when I arrived that it acted as a perfect mirror. There is also a short woodland walk that you can take.
After looking round the garden I had tea and cake in the tea cabin.












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