Monday, 31 October 2011

new things

For a while now I've been meaning to update the images in my Etsy shop. I finally got around to making some new sample pinback badges to illustrate the medium & large custom options (the 1-inch size makeover is coming soon).
I really enjoyed making them and I have to say I'm quite pleased with them... it almost seems a shame that they are not designed to be worn. Maybe I'll just wear them anyway, despite the text being rather odd when taken out of the Etsy shop context?
I can hardly keep up with all the awesome things happening over on the Blue Eyed Night Owl Autumn blog party! I had so much fun making my embroidered appliqué onesie, but that's just the start of it: there are so many other things in the guest posts I want to try!

Thursday, 27 October 2011


I was so excited when I learnt that the lovely Karena from Magic Jelly had given me an honourable mention in her fox-themed Haiku competition. She sent me this beautiful necklace as a runner-up prize. (You can see the stunning first prize here, and the amazing winning Haiku here).
I'm fairly addicted to the Magic Jelly blog at the moment. Karena's illustrations are inspired by vintage picture books, postcards and ephemera and she features things I love such as old postcard collections and vintage cats. She's a collage expert and her Flickr pages are full of inspiration. Her shop will be opening soon and I'm waiting for this with great anticipation!
Here are some other cute vintage and vintage-inspired foxes I've found. The Soviet badge, above, for example looks super wily and cunning! I love the bright colours too.
While these Cheap Charlie vintage brooches picture the fox as an elegant creature, perhaps influenced by the idea of expensive fox fur stoles?
Here's a cute little collage fox brooch, made from a vintage picture book and mounted on wood. I'm loving all the cute jewellery made from vintage paper in Mimi And Lucy's Etsy shop. They have some adorable kittens and squirrels too!
In case you hadn't realised, there is an incredible Paper Sparrow sale going on at the moment! So you can get this fabulous fox ring, for example. (I have ordered the owl buttons and beautiful Fall tree print).
Look at this charming vintage woodland creatures Christmas card! I found it here. But I will be looking out for other vintage images of foxes (and all kinds of other images) on Graphics Fairy. This is a site I found recently full of amazing free clip-art made from vintage ephemera. It's simply brilliant!
image from Graphics Fairy

Update! I almost forgot to link to a lovely post full of truly fantastic foxy finds from Laura of Blue Eyed Night Owl: click here to continue the fox fun, and don't miss her regular 'Spotted' posts - she has amazing taste and an eye for really special things!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

wise guys

You may remember my post about nesting dolls (here) and how much I loved the idea of sets of owls, one inside the other. So imagine my delight upon finding these guys! I love their Autumnal colours and the way each one has a different character. 
They are second-hand (ebay). I particularly love the last little owl - he looks a little bemused and has very fetching yellow feathers on his belly. I thought they deserved a little outing amid the Autumn leaves and berries in my garden.

In other Autumn-themed news I'm preparing a guest post for the Blue Eyed Night Owl Autumn blog party, coming soon! It's going to be lots of fun...

Friday, 21 October 2011


There is a family friend, she is very old now, in her 90s, who has always given me the most amazing vintage gifts. I love the fact that, not only do these things have an unknown history, they also mean a lot to me personally, as they represent this incredible, strong, dynamic and generous woman. I'd like to start a photographic record of the collection of vintage accessories and clothes given to me by her.
To begin, here is a little taster in the form of three of my favourite treasures: 1. owl earrings, one with red eyes, one with green; 2. beaded evening purse (I have used this endlessly); 3. faux-snakeskin bag

I know nothing about the provenance/eras of these things, so if anyone would like to enlighten me that would be wonderful! Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Paper Sparrow Hitchcock blog party

So the Hitchcock blog party starts today, yay! My first-ever guest post, inspired by Vertigo, will be featured at 1pm EST; be sure to check it out. See below for a sneak preview... Plus there will be a host of other inspiring and intriguing posts all based on some of the most extraordinary films by the master of suspense. Thanks for hosting, Andrea!

happiness is a warm blog

Last night I was fast asleep (between baby owl wake-ups...sigh) when something heavy and furry leapt onto me with a growl and scratched my shoulder. Strange how there was never a doubt that this was an intruder, not our cat (who is always welcome on our bed). I found myself screaming, from the shock of it. That scratch stung and my heart kept beating fast for quite a long time afterwards. I love cats so much & would probably dote on this one in the right circumstances... but these were not those circumstances!
So we are going to have to shut our kitty in at night, in order to shut other cats out. Hopefully Fafi won't mind too much...

Anyway, so after a tiring night, it's lovely to have some warm & fuzzy blogosphere happiness to share!
What could be more delightful than discovering that I won the first ever giveaway on Clare's Borderline blog! I've been enjoying her dreamy, pretty and eclectic blog since I discovered it on Blue Eyed Night Owl, and am looking forward to following its new features, with reviews and a regular movie feature. Apparently there will be more giveaways to come as well! Clare's infectious personality is above all what makes it well worth visiting often.
I've always loved Lush, ever since it was just one little shop in Devon, so I'm over the moon to be receiving their Out of this World box, which they say is perfect for daydreamers... and on the theme of dreaming, the other prize is a print of Augusta, by Caroline of Viridian house, whose beautiful illustrations of ethereal girls have a quiet intensity.

I feel amazingly lucky to have won another giveaway, and I feel a little guilty too! But I'm just going to enjoy it; more than ever I feel inspired by the generous and creative spirit to be found in the blogosphere.

On that note, I will be posting again today about the Paper Sparrow Hitchcock blog party taking place today, for which I've done a guest post, so please do swing by later on, or just head straight over to Andrea's blog!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

the careful Christmas project

{see how it went HERE!}

I absolutely love Christmas, but I usually prefer to wait until the month of December to get into Christmas spirit. However, this year I want to start thinking about it a lot earlier. This is because I want to do things a bit differently this year. I am launching my very own careful Christmas project.

The aim of the project is to make this a non-corporate Christmas as much as I possibly can. I am inspired by all the creativity circulating on the internet and I want to avoid the guilty surge of corporate consumerism that usually engulfs me. Instead I want to find creative solutions to gift-giving, cards, wrapping and decorating.

Here are my self-imposed guidelines:

  • homemade gifts, e.g. badges, hand-sewn things, preserves, food
  • handmade gifts, e.g. bought on Etsy, craft fair or similar
  • vintage/second-hand gifts
  • gifts that recycle or upcycle things I already own
  • re-use saved wrapping & ribbons
  • or use up new wrapping bought in previous years
  • I have a lot of cards bought in the sale last year, any extras must be handmade
  • decorations: same principles as for gifts

Note that I'm not calling this 'eco' or 'ethical' or anything like that. We are flying to Austin, Texas on Christmas day to visit family so that's one big fat carbon footprint this year! I'm just trying to be more careful than usual about the way we celebrate.
Now, I reckon that this is probably going to be quite challenging for me. I am guessing that it will be more time-consuming and more expensive (without that sweat-shop labour!) To help me stay motivated I will be posting, in January, about how it went, including the percentage of gifts that met the criteria above!
I also think it will be fun. If anyone else feels like joining in, that would be wonderful!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

winner announced!

Congratulations to Raindrop from Sofia, Bulgaria for winning my new-look blog giveaway!

Raindrop will win all the things listed in the giveaway post and chose the Lion book from Reaktion:

I will be in touch with Raindrop by email to arrange posting and the details of the custom-made, personalised badge.

Thanks for all your entries! My first ever giveaway has been really fun!

Friday, 14 October 2011

collecting things

Day 30 of Lisa Congdon's amazing A Collection A Day 2010 project

I am a hoarder of things. I just can't help it: I don't like to throw things away. It comes from my mother. She was born during WWII in England and grew up with rationing. It was hard to get things: food, clothes, fuel, most things. People didn't have much and what they did have they saved and reworked and re-used. This 'make do and mend' mentality runs deep in my mother. She saves pieces of string. I grew up in a house with amazing collections of things, carefully preserved for projects, activities, games, emergencies... who knows?!
Day 290 (17th October) of A Collection A Day 2010

Here are some of the collections we had stashed in our house: fabrics, wrapping paper (either used or bought in post-xmas sales), coloured paper, seeds, small glass bottles and corks, a cabinet full of tiny glass animals (inherited), Smarties lids (when they used to have letters on them), ribbons, jelly molds (from my mother's mother - we parted with these in the end), Christmas cracker trinkets (to be used again - my mother made them by hand), marbles, promotional mugs, hat pins and... pinback badges (yep, that's where my obsession with them comes from!)
Day 335 of A Collection A Day 2010

So when I heard, rather belatedly, about Lisa Congdon's A Collection A Day 2010 project, where she photographed, drew and painted her (mostly) real and (sometimes) imaginary collections, my heart skipped a beat. (By the way, I heard it on the Button Candy blog, which is a must-follow for those collectors of things and lovers of buttons or simply of quietly pretty images.)

I spend a lot of time worrying about our messy house and where I can store my postcards and fabric scrap piles and charity-shop books and old calendars & magazines... so I always love art that makes hoarding seem beautiful. And there's a neat storage idea on day 335, which is also a great way of making use of my overflowing old jar collection...!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

creative to-do list

Does anyone else adore the smell and feel of wax crayons? I find it so comforting, takes me straight back to childhood. I used my 15 month-old son's well-chewed set to make a to-do list for my creative projects, which have been buzzing around in my head the past couple of nights and keeping me from sleeping. I found using them made me write and draw like a child, which I very much enjoyed!
Why do babies love to chew on wax crayons? They don't taste very good. Maybe it's just a pleasurable texture to gnaw on. Anyway, thanks for the loan sweetie, you can have them back now!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

9 cats on Paris rooftops

Cats rule the rooftops in every city. But what better prowling and lounging territory than the zinc-covered Parisian skyline?
I love the look of this film which will show at the London Film Festival this Saturday 15th October. Dino is a cat who lives with a little girl and her mother by day but roams the rooftops with a thief by night... (my DVD is on order)

A 19th Century book for cat-lovers: cats & Paris rooftops have a long and illustrious history!

Max Vadukul for Versace - on the roof of French Vogue 

The Etsy artist is London-based but this sure looks like Paris zinc rooftops to me... 

I've mentioned Mr Chat before. He likes to spread his cute yellow form and Cheshire cat smile over the rooftops of Paris and other cities too... 

I have a postcard with a photograph similar to this image but I love the watercolour version 

And just in case you'd like a whole book on cats and Paris, here you go! 

My lovely man just sent me this link to a French exhibition of street-art cats, which complements this post nicely! Check it out: Chacun Trouve Son Chat

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

new-look blog giveaway! {CLOSED}

This giveaway is to celebrate the launch of my new gorgeous new blog designs, courtesy of the fabulous and talented Kate of Kates Irrelevant (thank you!) It is also because I have won a couple of things lately and I want to say thank you and share the love!

I chose things I've made and that represent some of the things I love and write about in this blog. One randomly-chosen reader will win all of the following:

1. Four badges (pinback buttons), all made by me: one flower collage, one cute kitty, one Japanese fabric and one 1-inch yellow rose.

(Although she's a tabby, her chic white scarf reminds me of my own beloved tortoiseshell cat, Fafi. Isn't she gorgeous?)

2. This little decorative heart in two of my current favourite fabrics, with a pensive owl appliqué and three shiny buttons on the front (lovingly handmade by me).

3. This cute key-ring made from vintage childrens' picturebooks by Larkmade.

4. This beautiful reproduction vintage French postcard, with a beautiful October-themed poem and drawing (translation: It's raining / The October kind is dead / The deserted forest is bored / The wind dreams / The tree falls asleep / I watch the rain dance)

5. A book of your choice from this incredible series by Reaktion Books. As you know from this post, I am currently enjoying Desmond Morris's Owl. But there are so many more possibilities, from bee to whale, via cat and fox! The books are beautifully illustrated in colour so you can enjoy images of your favourite animal in photos, art and artefacts. Check out the full list and pick your favourite!

6. Last but by no means least, the winner will receive a personalised name badge (pinback button) made by me using a collage of vintage and contemporary magazines, newspapers and ephemera, something like this one I made for Karena of Magic Jelly to say thank you for her amazing Haiku competition and my honourable mention prize (she should be receiving it in the post soon!).

It's easy to enter (international entrants welcome):

Required: leave a comment below, saying what animal book you would choose from the Reaktion Books series and why, with your email address or a way of contacting you

Extras: (leave a separate comment for each, please):
  • Follow this blog
  • Follow me on twitter
  • Tweet about the giveaway (and include a link to the tweet in your comment)
The winner will be drawn on Sunday 16th October at 9pm GMT. That's all folks, hope you like it!

p.s. thanks to Amy from A is for Ampersand for the cute plaid arrow I used in the last image - she has a lot of clipart freebies on her excellent blog!

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