5 things I liked this week – 5.8.16

1. Pokemon Go, even if I feel a bit embarrassed being seen out in public playing it.
2. Long, gossipy phone calls with my dad.
3. Anyone who follows me on Pinterest, may have noticed this week that I’ve got a major thing for Oliver Jeffers. When my kids were little, Oliver Jeffers picture books were some of our favourites. Back then, I don’t know, I think I always imagined Jeffers to be some little balding old man but (sorry Mr. Lacer), Jeffers actually turns out to be kind of hot, with a sexy accent to boot.


I’ve only pinned one Jeffers video though (in my defence) but I have pinned an awful lot of his sketchbook pages because they’re wonderful.

4. This checked dress I bought from Gap a few weeks ago, as the weather is beginning to cool a little now, so I can wear it. As the old adage goes, one of the quickest ways to get dressed is to wear a dress, yet still look put together and smart. And what is particularly good about this dress is that although it feels smart to wear (particularly if with long black boots), the soft flannel material makes it feel like you’re walking around in your nightie, so win, win!

5. Pizza when you’re absolutely too shattered to even make a sandwich.

The WIP report – July 2016

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As well as finishing my embroidered pillows and the As If embroidery this month, I’ve done a little bit of the diamond hex quilt. It was just two big diamonds, the green diamond that has somehow got folded under itself in the photo and a blue diamond, two along from the aforementioned green diamond. Both of those were done in the last week, I wasn’t really up for anything fiddly before that.

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My lack of up for fiddly-ness can also be seen in my Mario cross stitch, with just about only another row done, although at least now I’m temporarily off the blue! Although to be honest, that’s what made me stop, it’s a lot harder to make a brain dead mistake when you’re just constantly filling in a single colour, than when you have to go and stitch another boulder.

I’ve mainly been doing quite a lot of drawing and all for trying something a bit different, I’ve made a little vlog about what I’ve been doing in my sketchbook this month, excuse the video quality, I made a total rookie mistake with my phone orientation and therefore I had to fiddle with it and now it’s just a square and the resolution isn’t great and a few bits are chopped off, think of it as a podcast with bad pictures! It was my first time using Adobe Premiere and boy do I have a steep learning curve.


Mentioned in the video:
Urban Watercolour Sketching by Felix Scheinberger
The Three Colour Drawing Book by Sarah Skeate
More Sketchbook Explorations, Intuitive Painting and Sketchbook Doodling from Creativebug
Gelly roll pens!

Plans for August, umm, I’m still not up to that much, so more drawing, hopefully more diamond hex quilt, I’d like to start another embroidery and well, anything else is a bonus. I’d love to do some machine sewing but it’s not going to happen.

5 things I liked- 29.7.16

1. I grew up in a bygone era where there were only 4 channels and no internet, let alone internet streaming, so I was much less discerning about what I watched (eek, even Antiques Roadshow if I was really bored). Back then TV channels weren’t afraid to show really old repeats either but there was nothing wrong with that because I grew up watching some classics, The Flintstones (yes, that’s a classic) Mash, Porridge and The Adams Family. I’d somehow forgotten about The Adams Family, until I saw that some genius has hand coloured some of it and oh it brought all the feels back.

2. Comic Con has meant lots of good trailers being released, although so much of it is for 2017 stuff, how can I wait!

3. Sesame Street have started doing some really cool collaborations, I love this one.

4. Politics is pretty awful at the moment but I do love the one ‘fun’ long running politics story in the news at the moment, the ongoing battle between Larry the Cat (resident of 10 Downing Street) and Palmerston (feline resident of the Foreign Office). The latest installment of the saga involved Palmerston invading number 10, Larry was not impressed.

5. Clothes are really exciting me at the moment, I’m still a little limited about what I can wear, no way do I want anything but the softest of fabrics on my stomach scar but a girl can dream and dreaming is just about what I’m limited to at the moment, as I’m still on medical leave and I only get statutory sick pay and when I go back to work my hours will be reduced. But let me get myself off that economic downer and show you what I’m drooling over on Boden.

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The Supersoft Ballet Top, except in black, not the colour shown in the photo. As well as the low neckline at the back, it also has a higher neckline at the front. Heck, if I were loaded I’d also buy one in navy blue and maybe the navy / ivory stripe too. I think this top would also look good on Girl Lacer (she’s getting to the age where she’s starting to be able to fit into adult clothes) and she is an actual ballerina. (And double heck, the model even has her hair in the same style I’m currently trying to grow my hair out into).

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Featherweight Polo Neck, except in black (spot a theme developing?). I am so glad polo necks / turtle necks are coming back into fashion this autumn, I am still heavily influenced by an interviewee I once saw, at a tender age, on Wogan, looking stunning in a black polo neck, black jeans and a black leather jacket.

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Lightweight baseball tee (actually in the colour shown), I have a fondness for baseball tees and they’re not always easy to find.

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And finally the Sally Coat; I need a new coat this winter, my faithful, signature, woollen, purple coat has seen too many winters and is now also too big for me (in a way that is not flattering). I know exactly what sort of coat I want, I’ve been thinking about this for months and weirdly, duster coats are now apparently ‘the shape of the season’. The Sally Coat seems to be a pretty good match to this dream coat I’ve been carrying round in my head, the right shape, woollen and navy blue (I would also go for dark grey but they don’t do dark grey for this coat). Whereas the other three dream items could well not end up in my wardrobe (*sob*), I can’t escape that I need a new coat and it could well be this one; I won’t need a winter coat for a few months yet, so I’m going to continue looking (which is more than half the fun).

(All photos under 5. from Boden).

#30DaysWild 25 – wild crafts

A confession, I’ve prepared this one in advance, as I won’t be in a position to blog today but I will be out there, thinking wild thoughts …. But in the meantime, here are some of my favourite wild crafts.

Wintercroft masks

Wintercroft make amazing masks you can print off at home, stick to an old cereal box or something similar (so you’re recycling something old into something new too!) and then construct yourself. They have a wide variety of masks but a lot of them are based on animals, such as this gorgeous stag mask.

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Image credit – Wintercroft

It looks a bit complicated but honestly it’s not, it just takes a bit of time (I’ve made their skull mask before).

Embroider a floral motif

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Image credit: Polka and Bloom

Embroidery is a fantastically easy hobby to pick up (check out Sublime Stitching for some tutorials, it was a Sublime Stitching book that helped me start stitching many years ago now, they also have some lovely wild patterns, such as their Birds of Prey pattern sheet). It’s also an extremely portable hobby, so it’s great to stitch outside too!

Polka and Bloom have a fantastic range of floral motifs, such as the floral motif pictured above. Or if you like your embroidery a little more complicated, Follow the White Bunny has a fantastic shading course, where you can learn to shade the outline of a bird or a bear with an umbrella.

Cross stitch some creepy crawlies

If your needlework is more towards the cross stitch variety, Floss & Mischief have some fantastic creepy crawly cross stitch patterns, such as this death’s head moth pattern.

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Image credit: Floss & Mischief

Or if you like your creepy crawlies more monochrome and a bit more buzzy, What Delilah did has a lovely bee pattern. She also has many other nature inspired patterns, I am very tempted by the magpie pattern.

 

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Image credit: What Delilah Did

 

Knit some faux taxidermy

Actual taxidermy is of course a bit yeugh but knitted faux taxidermy, that’s quite cute. I don’t feel confident enough yet with my knitting skills but Louise Walker’s Faux Taxidermy Knits is lovely to look at and I think celebrates our wild animals, I particularly like her moose head.

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Image credit: Louise Walker

And finally Paint some wild

Creativebug has a fantastic range of art classes, many of which look at natural subjects, such as in Lisa Congdon’s Sketchbook Exploration class.

 

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Image credit: Creativebug

 

Creativebug is a subscription service but you can try any of their classes out on a free trial.

An unexpected day out (the non-wild version)

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I went to see the new Tate Modern extension today and had a quick pop into Kew Gardens as well. After all the rain, London was looking especially photogenic, so I even enjoyed the walk to Tate Modern (although to be honest I normally do, as I used to work and live (nearish) that part of London).

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This is one of my favourite London streets 👆, a hidden gem near Waterloo (also very near Konditor and Cook, one of my favourite bakers, which is an added bonus). There’s also a nice pub along there, although last time I went there was many moons ago, so it may have changed.

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Not the pub I remember but another one ….. and a handy thing to know.

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Now, Tate Modern is always one of my favourite buildings to walk up to, in London, it’s always very impressive but ooh it’s pulled out all the stops with the extension.

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I love how the outside almost looks like knitting in this shot

And the inside looks even better.

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The new space holds their more architectural pieces and their performance work. They’ve also now permanently opened up The Tanks (the old oil tanks from when it used to be a power station), which also shows some performance pieces.

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There’s a new bridge that goes over to the main building.

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AND there’s an amazing viewing platform on the tenth floor of the extension!

(The new shop is pretty nice too).

My second sight seeing stop of the day was Kew Gardens, on my way to see The Hive (see my previous post), I walked along The Broad Walk, which is, apparently, the longest herbaceous border in the UK. They’ve been replanting it (it’s been bare soil for months and months) but it’s almost completed now, the posters are advertising it from July, some of the flowers aren’t blooming yet but it’s already looking stunning, so definitely worth the visit.

#30DaysWild 21 -an unexpected day out

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I’ve been going into central London a lot recently, as I’ve been preparing for my upcoming op. I didn’t think I needed to go into London today but I got a phone call yesterday, to tell me I needed to pick something up today, so I got an extra trip into town. Now I wasn’t going to go all the way in, for a 10 minute chore and then go back home again, so I managed to tick two things off my ‘to see list’ as well.

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The first thing on my list was the new Tate Modern extension. The architecture of the new building is fantastic, but as this post is about wild things, for the architecture bit skip to the next post.

As part of my #30DaysWild, I kept my eye out for wild things and it was, I admit, quite a bit harder than when I went to the V&A. But I did spot a giant metal spider, a money tree and (my favourite) Tree 2010 by Ai Weiwei.

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Tree 2010 is made from dry branches, roots and trunks from different species of trees that Weiwei gathered from across China. The tree was inspired by the Chinese custom of displaying eye catching tree trunks and weirdly shaped roots as decorations in the home. But the fact that it is also dry and dead, draws attention to China’s rapid growth and urbanisation, which has damaged the environment and suppressed traditional culture.

The second thing on my ‘to see’ list was The Hive at Kew Gardens but first I had to get there, walking to Blackfriars via the river, which was low today.

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The Hive is an installation which links actual hives to a giant sculpture, which produces light and sound depending on what is going on in the hives.

It certainly was interesting and anything that promotes how vitally important bees are, is good by me, it’s just that, ummm, I dunno, I think I thought it would be a bit more ‘whizz, bang’ but I think that was probably just me, my senses already overloaded by the Tate Modern and something else at Kew (which will also be in my next post).

*Source material – Ai Weiwei, Tate Modern