22 June 2017

Colouring postcards

I wrote a post at the start of the year about colouring, and I've been doing a little more in recent months so I thought I'd let you see. This particular set of colouring postcards is all on a Japanese theme.

I like colouring postcards, because they are small and easy to leave lying around, you don't need to hold them open like a book.

I don't always have a great plan in mind when I start colouring a design. I just get started and see where it takes me. Sometimes I limit myself to a certain colour palette.

20 June 2017

College card competition winner

I recently blogged about some card designs I'd created for a competition at college. Well, I'm pleased to say that I won a prize for this birthday card design! I won a £30 Amazon voucher, which I've already put to good use. When I get an Amazon voucher I always think it's a great chance to treat myself to slightly more expensive books that I've had my eye on for a while.
Of the five cards I designed, this one was not my favourite. But the fact that it won made me remember that we are not always the best judges of what other people will like.

18 June 2017

The Simple Things

One of my favourite magazines is The Simple Things. It really appeals to me because it's about appreciating the little things in life, taking things slowly, loving nature and food, and so on. It's the first magazine in years that I've actually subscribed to, because it was getting to be a pain trying to find it in the shops, and I really love seeing it on the doormat every month.

The covers are very photogenic, and lots of people share photos of their copies of the magazine on Instagram. Each month in the magazine they share some of the Instagram photos. I took a photo of the May issue along with some lovely flowers a colleague had given me, when I had helped out with a sudden deluge in her room, and the magazine contacted me asking if they could use my photo - it was really fun seeing it in the June edition!

And below you can see some other photos I've taken of the magazine covers!

16 June 2017

Dundee Design Festival

I hadn't heard of the Dundee Design Festival when it first ran last year, but when I heard about it this year I had to go along and have a look. I was heading to Dundee anyway to have a look at the degree show, so I decided to combine the two.
The festival was held in an old printing factory, West Ward Works. I love old industrial buildings (especially when they are filled with artwork), so this was a perfect location. I headed upstairs first to look around. Some of the windows upstairs had been covered with coloured films in pink, blue, and yellow, and this, along with the roof tiles and bricks that can be seen through the windows, was the inspiration for an enamel pin designed by Whimsical Lush (buying which I must admit was one of the main reasons I wanted to go there!). My gran worked in the jute mills in Dundee, so I loved the idea that this pin was a link to Dundee's industrial heritage (and it's so colourful, too!).
I loved looking round the displays at the design festival, including a cityscape of cardboard, murals, screen printing, etc. There were also chances to make items - if I'd needed yet another tote bag I could have screen printed one with a fantastic design with Dundee's buildings on it, but instead I used that design as inspiration for a badge. I enjoyed making the badge (although the pen I was using to draw the design was not great so it didn't turn out looking that good) and it's something I'd like to try more of.
When I went downstairs there was an interactive artwork being created, based on the silent monitors used by Robert Owen in New Lanark to get an overview of the behaviour of his workers - an early form of data analysis. This had been used to inspire an artwork showing how people feel about the way their online data is used. I decided I was "indifferent" (because some companies are good at protecting my data but others may not be), so a blue triangle was added to the artwork on my behalf as I watched. It's fun thinking that you have played a part in a large artwork!

14 June 2017

Dundee degree show

After visiting the Dundee Design Festival, I took a walk to Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, to see the degree show there. This is always a favourite of mine because I love exploring the building and finding the different displays.

This year I concentrated on my favourite departments - jewellery, illustration, and animation. Strangely, this is the only degree show where I go and watch the animations - I think it's because they have such a nice cinema area to sit down in. I really enjoyed the music that was playing in one of the animations, which was by Metecandriu, and luckily I was able to buy a CD!
In the illustration department I met illustrator Shona Heaney who was busy making more of her brightly coloured wooden badges. It was really hard to choose which one to buy, but I decided on this star-shaped one. And it perfectly matches the Whimsical Lush pin I got at the design festival!

In the jewellery department I really loved the interactive exhibit by Eileen Pottle, which consisted of little wooden doors and windows, and plastic people, all in pastel colours, which you could rearrange to make your own designs and share online.

I also discovered a little tea-room area that had been set up in the art college with tablecloths and vintage china, so I stopped there for a cup of hot chocolate and a piece of carrot cake.

12 June 2017

Roundabout rhododendrons

I recently had a cycle about town, and the main purpose was to visit a roundabout! This particular roundabout has a spectacular display of rhododendrons at this time of year, so I wanted to get some photos of it.
Next to the roundabout are some concrete mushrooms, which are now painted red and white, so it was fun to get some photos of them too.
Then I came back via the edge of the town park, where I saw some lovely bluebells.

10 June 2017

Recently thrifted

I've found some great thrifted items recently, and that's without counting those I got at the Christian Aid book sale, or at the Meadows Festival, or the Grassmarket Vintage Weekend, or the collection of Observer guides that I've started!

These are some items that I found at local charity shops. I visited Tuscany two years ago, and I love illustrated books, so this illustrated recipe book about Tuscan food was a great find. 

I've loved Scandinavian painted items since I visited Norway when I was a student (and I've even done a craft project inspired by them), so this little wooden box is a lovely addition to my small collection.

And cactus themed jewellery is something I really love at the moment, so these earrings and necklace were a great find at only £2! I don't think they are real silver, but they are real turquoise.

08 June 2017

Ombre spray-painted necklace

I recently popped in to a shop called Joe (aka Joe Cool) in Edinburgh. This is a fun little jewellery shop just next to Greyfriars Bobby, and it's been there forever (or at least since the 70s). This is a shop I've loved since I first visited it in the 80s. They do little mystery bags, at £1 or £2. I thought it would be fun to treat myself to a £2 bag and see what I got. As well as some other items (a bangle, ring, bracelet and earrings), I got this necklace in the bag. I knew that some of the items in the bag might not be quite to my taste, so I had in mind that I could do something creative with them.
The necklace started off with plain brown and cream wooden beads, which I found a bit boring, so I decided to attack it with some spray paint. I had a look at the paints I had available, and couldn't choose between the mint and pink so I decided to use both.

It's really easy to make this ombre effect!

1. Cover the necklace cord with masking tape.

2. Using the pink paint, spray the beads, making sure that you turn the necklace around to get both sides.

3. Using the mint paint, spray the top half of the necklace. Make it more concentrated at the top, and less so further down.

4. Hang the necklace up to dry (I put mine on the handlebars of my bike!).

5. Remove the masking tape.

06 June 2017

Christian Aid book sale 2017

As usual, I headed off to Edinburgh on the first day of the Christian Aid book sale! I was a bit earlier than usual, but luckily the rain stayed off while I was queuing. It did come on very heavy later, which meant I had to stay a bit longer (what a shame!) so I could see the outside part of the sale without getting soaked.

One of my important (to me) finds this year was a copy of The Chalet School in the Oberland. This means that, with only the second-last book in the series to find, I can start my re-read of the approximately 60-book series, which I hope to complete by next year's sale! I was a bit worried about getting to the stage of completing my collection, but in the future I can work towards having the unabridged original versions of those that are heavily cut, so that still gives me something to collect! I also got volume 2 of a Chalet School encyclopaedia, not realising that it was part of a probably 4-part series and not a sequel to the one I have!

Another great find was a childhood fave of mine, Ask A Silly Question, from 1973, which has pages divided up so that you can create characters a la exquisite corpse. This copy is absolutely pristine, with the pages still joined together, so it was a great bargain at 50p (the only flaw being that the 50p price tag left a mark). It's in much better condition than my copy, but I'm going to donate this good copy to my young nephews as the spiral binding on my copy is broken and wouldn't be safe for them to play with.
I was pleased to get a few books about trees, because Dad and I were recently trying to identify trees on a walk. And some cheap Observer guides to add to my small but quickly growing collection. The Ladybird crochet book is one I've been looking for for a while, and the illustrations really brought back memories. I studied the poems of Catullus in Latin class at school (which makes it sound like I went to a really posh school, but it certainly wasn't!) so I'm looking forward to refreshing my memory of those. The Blue Peter cookery book is one I had as a child, and I'd recently been thinking about one of the recipes in it, for Nasi Goreng.
As usual I managed to find a few books on a Japanese theme. And I also found one about the dome in Florence, which is an amazing marvel of engineering. This is a children's book with lovely line illustrations (which would actually make great colouring book designs) but I actually found it in the architecture section!
OK, so here's the big list!

Collins Gem Trees 50p
Observer Butterflies £2
Observer Wild Flowers £1
Observer Sea and Seashore £2
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter 80p
The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan by Beatrix Potter 20p
Flower Fairies of the Garden £1
Ladybird Trees £1
Ladybird Crochet £1
The Blue Peter book of Gorgeous Grub 50p
Make it Easy Lions - Modelling 50p
The Poems of Catullus £1
The Chalet School in the Oberland by Elinor M Brent-Dyer £6
The World of the Japanese Garden by Toshitaka Morita £3
Everything in its Place by Rebecca Winward £2
Suminagashi: The Japanese Art of Marbling by Anne Chambers £2
A Celebration of Japanese Gardens by Sadao Hibi £4
Filippo's Dome by Anne Rockwell £4
The Chalet School Encyclopaedia Volume 2 by Alison McCallum £8
Men on the Moon £1
Ask a Silly Question by Kent Salisbury and Joan Allen 50p
Japanese fan 20p
Mei from My Neighbour Totoro 50p

Coming to a grand total of £42.70 for all the books I could carry!

I've discovered that there are two other book sales on in Edinburgh at the same time as this one, so next year I'm thinking of having a day off during the week to explore those ones.
Previous book sales (Wow! I've been blogging this sale for ten years now! And attending for 10 or more before that!):
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