Tuesday, 17 November 2009

words for today

I would like to recommend Poetry International Web to everyone. It's a worldwide forum for poetry with a monthly newsletter; you can sign up for weekly poems in your inbox too.

Today's one is so evocative and beautiful I just had to share it. It's not about rainbows sadly (I'm still waiting to find the perfect rainbow poem... Gerard Manley Hopkins has an unfinished one, but it's not what I'm after...)

But it is about the city, the season, the sounds and light and rain and night. For more about the (rather dashing) Portuguese author, visit PIW here.

The electric lights, it may well be that the electric lights
will prevent the autumn fall
and the bird call at the window,
grey as an overcoat.

The jaw squeezes a verb
and no bird appears,
nothing happens: it’s the autumn
of the falling leaves, that’s all –
no verb can thus fall.

Only the bent,
welded, muffled, cold sound
of a tolling bell,

it may well be that the electric lights
and the stone blocks for example
may well prevent
the irregularity of pavements or the crushing
of hours against each other

it may well be that the shells
of the umbrellas that blur the city
may well draw your name
like in a musical

it may well be that the shops will stay
and the stone slabs will go
and it may well not be
that the rain will insist
in such an iniquitous way.

© 2005, Daniel Jonas
© Translation: 2009, Ana Hudson

And watch Daniel Jonas reading his poems in Portuguese here:

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


The other day, I saw the most magical rainbow. It was about 7.30am and I noticed a strange light coming in through the bathroom window. Actually, first I noticed that little spots of rain were hitting the window and thought, 'oh, another grey, rainy morning'. Then I saw there was some kind of glow in the light as well.

I looked out.

The colours of the garden were saturated with this glowing apricot dawn light, and high, arching over the whole neighbourhood like a magical bridge, was a rainbow, its colours bright yet somehow softened in the dawn light.

At the moment I'm very tired, my life is very full of work, not all of it very creative, and I'm struggling to keep up with things. So I'm thankful I saw this fantastically hopeful image. It reminds me how beautiful life really is.

Does anyone know any good poems about rainbows? I'd like to read one, since it seems hard to express in words the sheer delight of the thing.

Monday, 9 November 2009


Thanks so much Allie, of No Small Dreams, for this lovely award! I'm so chuffed that she picked The Owl Club! Everyone should add No Small Dreams to their favourites, because Allie's spirit is so irrepressible, she updates all the time with quirky and cool and random things, and has loads of other brilliant ideas, like 'pretty of the day' (always covetable creations), quote of the day, and snap of the day! Basically, you have to visit her every day!

(Also please note she lists old movies, collage, cats and red lipstick among her favourite things.... me too, Allie!)

So anyway, here are the rules that come with this award:

1. Thank the person that nominated you for this award

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog

3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.

4. Name seven things about yourself that people may not know.

5. Nominate seven 'Kreativ Bloggers'.

6. Post links to the seven blogs nominated.

7. Leave a comment on each of those blogs to let them know they've been nominated.

Seven things you might not know about me...

1. I wear a silver ring on my thumb that I found in the garden 15 years ago... and I never take it off.

2. I got married on 5th July 2008... but we've been together since 2000.

3. I had a phase of surfing and it was such an amazing feeling I still have dreams about it.

4. Surfing actually taught me the meaning of fear - but only after 2 near drownings and one concussion!

5. I have a beautiful tortoiseshell cat with adorable white paws & soft white collar, named Fafi.

6. If I could have any job in the world I'd be a filmmaker.

7. I learnt to read when I was 2 years old but couldn't tell the time till I was 17!

Now for my seven fabulous Kreativ bloggers:

Love ya all!

p.s. I love the fact that this award logo looks like it's been stitched together from pretty scraps of fabric!

Saturday, 7 November 2009


It's my dear friend L's birthday on Monday, her 30th no less! Of course I made her a little collage badge with her name on a strange ghostie background with pink hearts, and a Vanessa Paradis-type mouth holding a pendant.

I wish I could be with L for her birthday, but she's in Paris, and I'm across the channel, and however hard I tried to work it all out in my head, I couldn't arrange things so I could be there. She was with me for my exuberant 30th celebrations in March this year, so I wish I could be with her for her quiet evening with close friends on Monday.

The great thing about friendships however is the way they cross distances of all kinds. She knows I'll be thinking of her, and we're spending Christmas in Paris this year, so hopefully I'll see her then.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

button candy

Look what I received in the post! Sweet Jo of Button Candy sent me a consolation prize for entering her 'guessing is fun' competition in September. She's so nice that everyone was a winner in her competition, even though my guess at the number of buttons in her photo was way off.

Isn't it amazing receiving things in the post? I'm such a fan of snail mail. I love opening packages and finding the surprises they hold inside. Knowing that these pretty blue, yellow and pink buttons and hair slides came all the way from South Africa is really special.

This gorgeous card of buttons looks so pretty I'm not sure I'll ever bring myself to use them. I love the hidden story here: these buttons were made in England, somehow found themselves in South Africa (in the 1940s, 1950s?) and then in the 21st Century made their way back to England again. What a journey!

I wish just by looking at objects you could tell exactly where they'd been and who they'd seen. Just think of all those amazing stories.

Anyway, many thanks Jo: button love!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

scattered leaves

It's definitely not Summer anymore. The clocks went back on Sunday so it's now getting dark at about 5pm. It's warm coat weather; it's changeable, volatile, blustery deep Autumn weather.

On Sunday it was the best. It started off muggy and miserably wet - you know that fine penetrating drizzle that really gets to you. I went into town and everyone seemed moody. People were shoving; umbrellas clashed. By the time I went home though, the sun had come bursting through the clouds and there was a huge great arc of a rainbow: a whole arc. Low black clouds and bright blue sky, and this magical bridge of colours. I wished I had my camera.

It is windy, and flocks of leaves are swirling around in the sky like tealeaves in the bottom of a cup. In our garden, the vine leaves have turned a deep, glorious red, and they are falling. Soon our trellises will be bare and we'll be able to see straight through into the neighbours' gardens.

What I love most of all, however, are those late roses. The roses keep flowering into November, bravely against the cold. We've taken better care of them this year and they're flourishing in their final blaze of ephemeral beauty. It's wonderful.

I keep thinking of that song by The Be Good Tanyas, Scattered Leaves. It has a story about a love that's ended, one who's returned and the other who's moved on, but I love the way it captures the beauty of the season and the sense of time moving inexorably to the next cycle. As the seasons pass we all lose things, the past becomes past, but as the song says, "that's just the way when you walk your days in the beauty of this world".

Saturday, 24 October 2009


I just discovered Zara Wood and fell in love with this adorable owl locket. So Santa, if you're reading...

Monday, 19 October 2009

pom-poms are so perfect: part 1

folksy pom-pom boots at John Galliano A/W 2009

I currently have a thing for pom-poms. They are sweet and silly, colourful and appealing, and they're easy to make. You can use them to decorate just about anything - like Ashish's customised American Apparel hoodie for Vogue, below.

I am making a gigantic pom-pom! I had hoped to include some pictures of it in this post, but it's taking a while... There will be a part deux. People keep asking me what I'll do with it when it's ready. I really don't know yet, but I'm sure something wonderful will happen when it finally emerges!

From UK Vogue, November 2009 issue

As if they weren't great enough already, pom-poms are also now have their own political movement! Check out the Pom-poms for World Peace movement to see what I mean...

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

an owl a day

A few days ago I received a sweet little package from Portugal. The delightful Maça, of One Badge A Day, included a pretty flower as a free gift - how thoughtful!

Of course I couldn't resist this quirky fabric badge with its little yellow owl motif.

Wearing the badge, plus one of my own - a startled little red owl. I realise that I probably wear an owl somewhere most days! (I have a great little tag necklace from BoyGirlParty that comes out a lot).

For the moment I'm keeping it as a flower, but maybe I'll wear this one too. I so love ditzy floral fabrics. I have a crazy old 1960s cotton skirt that I'm turning into charming little fabric buttons at the moment.

COMING SOON: a post about POM-POMS! - un-missable, naturally!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

badge for J&J

badge for J&J
Originally uploaded by The Owl Club
This is such a pretty, photo of my friend's daughter J, with her dog, J - so happy and full of life! I asked what she'd like on her birthday badge and she said, 'my dog'. I hope she likes it!

p.s. these are the same friends we went damson picking with a few weeks ago, as I wrote about here.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

unexpected whale

Sometimes you just have to look up to see something wonderful. Most of the time we wander around with our eyes to the ground, scanning only for the important things: traffic lights, cyclists on the pavement, people we're avoiding etc.

I looked up the other day and saw this:

I think it's a whale. I love whales. Strangely, my sister-in-law has a terrible phobia of them - she can't even look at a picture of a whale without coming over all peculiar!

Must remember not to wear my Sven Palmowski squid & the whale badge when I see her...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

a poem

(photo of poetry book shelf taken at Kettle's Yard)

Today is National Poetry Day in the UK. With this in mind, I actually sat down last night and tried to write a poem. It's been a long time since I attempted such a thing... and I can't say the results were very successful. There are some words on a page, filed away for now, perhaps they have a beautiful future, perhaps not.

So I won't post that here. Instead, I want to share something by that most passionate of poets, one of my favourites, W. B. Yeats. Musical, mystical, speaking to the inner murmurings of the soul: you can read his poems endlessly.

By William Butler Yeats

That crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,

Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.

No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea.'

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

pie in the sky

There's always time for creativity but... well, you know when other things are keeping you busy and tired, and creative projects start to seem like pie in the sky? That's a bit how I'm feeling at the moment.

That's why I'm so glad I have some Etsy custom orders to work on (more of this in forthcoming posts), keeping me focused & inspired!

And then there are the pretty Autumn-dusk skies to look at, reminding me of beauty just when I feel like crawling into bed and hiding under the covers from the world!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

drops in the river

My friend J lives on a houseboat and for his birthday he invited us all for a trip along the river. It was so beautiful with the glowing light in the Autumnal trees and the orange and yellow leaves in the water.

When I arrived I could see them all huddling around J, giving him his birthday presents.

Imagine if this were the view from your kitchen sink.

We entered the lock with the low Autumn sun behind us. Everyone was watching us from the bridges and riverbanks.

The people sitting on top of the boat had to lie very flat as we passed under some low stone bridges along the way.

The lock opened and low and behold, we were now at the right level to continue down the river.

All the way there were leaves in the water, scurrying in our wake, and the water captured blue patches of sky and violet clouds.

These images go well with one of the Fleet Foxes' wonderfully luminous-sounding songs, Drops in the River.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

ochen horosho

This means 'very good' in Russian. Because clearly there is an appealing folksy-slavic aspect of the design of my latest Etsy purchase: these brilliant badges by Stuart Kolakovic (see his Etsy shop here).

I love his style. How can I describe it? It's a mixture of fairytale, folklore nostalgia, and geometric, stylised simplicity. I see from his blog he's done book covers - makes me want to write the right kind of book just so I can ask him to do the cover! Check out the pretty logo stamp he put on the envelope:

Am also grateful to Sven Palmowski of the fab Badge Review site for this find!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

intimate archeology

My mother came to stay and brought with her two plastic bags filled with a mass of little objects from my past.

She had decided to get rid of an old desk that had been slowly warping and ageing in her greenhouse, topped with runaway geraniums and spider plants. In the desk drawer she found a treasure trove of things sentimentally hoarded by me back when the desk was in my room as a teenager.

In one bag, there were old love letters, restaurant cards, stamps, postcards, (several pictures of owls, unsurprisingly!), letters full of warmth and affection from friends now all but forgotten... One overstuffed envelope had a yellow sticker on it saying, rather mysteriously: 'code yellow letters' (I think signalling declarations of love, or particularly intimate and difficult-to-read missives).

In the second bag, I found my own personal thrift store! A once-valuable antique ivory fan, a pinback badge from my 18th birthday, long beaded necklaces and lots of homemade earrings - already 'vintage' now, since I made them as a child!

At the bottom left of this photo you can see a pair of glass strawberry earrings. These were my first ever pair of 'dangly' earrings (i.e. not studs). I was in Arizona, USA, aged 5, when I decided I wanted my ears pierced. My mum (to my surprise!) agreed, but the deal was: no dangly earrings before the age of 12. Too grown-up, too tacky, I suppose? Go figure.

Anyway, a family friend gave me the strawberries when I was about 9 and so I snuck in there early with the danglies and never looked back!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


This is another of my cute little finds from Cheap Charlie (aka Hui Ling): a vintage tiny-pair-of-scissors brooch set with a tiny diamante stone. Can anyone tell me why miniature things are so very appealing?

That's me wearing it with my J'aime Paris Lazy Oaf t-shirt, which made me feel overall rather Paris Nouvelle Vague... little echoes of the scene in Pierrot le Fou where Anna Karina, wearing a very wonderful 1960s red dress, snips scissors across the foreground of the frame... like cutting filmstrip... (or maybe, given the character's dangerous tendencies, threatening to snip off parts of male anatomy...?!)

My little scissors brooch on the other hand is all cuteness and no danger. Hmmm... ok by me!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

colours of now

Autumn is...

... glowing light, green tomatoes, sunflowers, late roses, spiders' webs, bright colours, leaves turning, last fruit, deep shadow, crisp air, low sun...

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