14 January 2011

getting dressed...a little birdy told me

so, i've realised that i don't have enough friends, i'm not lonely or anything, it's just that i keep seeing wonderful crafted things - jewellery, trinkets, handbags, books, pictures, objets d'art (oh hark at me), vases, tea towels, all kinds of lovely things - that would make such perfect gifts but unfortunately i don't have enough friends to give them to.  oh dear.

here's a perfect example from layla amber handmade creations...delicate bird designs on necklaces, earrings, rings and hair clips.  delightful!

09 January 2011

what i see...outrageous colours, dramatic icicles and a christmas angel (or two)

here's a few photos - a complete mixbag, no real theme, maybe another time...

what an outrageous colour!...plums cooked in too-sweet port leftover from christmas festivities (photos of plums appears to be a recurring theme, sorry)

a yellow, red, green and purple lettuce from my organic box
it really is the frozen north! icicles in a tunnel in newcastle on 21 december

a death trap!
well, i was...packed up the tree today, very sad

a shadow of the christmas tree on the wall at home, a bit fuzzy but appealing all the same...excitingly, i've just noticed that you can see the christmas angel! which, er, i obviously did on purpose...

getting dressed...necklaces

i'm never very good at wearing jewellery but am determined to wear this incredibly beautiful necklace my super generous boyfriend gave me for christmas...

he got it from the shop floor project, which if you don't know it, is a very special website, designed like a real shop, featuring an eclectic mix of designers' and artists' work, some commissioned by the shop.  it's great for a window shopping session, wandering around the different rooms, a chance to dream about the beautiful, distinctive items on offer.  there's also a sister website, the secret arcade, that brings together shops from 29 british web-based retailers.  again, the website design is very impressive, based on 19th century parisian arcades with 'seven little passages leading off from the main entrance, taking the visitor to a tempting array of shops'.  the concept of the arcade is to 'shine a spotlight' on web-based retailers 'giving shoppers a unique experience to unearth little gems'.  i can't argue with that.  unfortunately, it's another perfect way to waste hours of time...

speaking of necklaces, my eye was seriously caught by a necklace created by a talented local (to me anyway in the north east of england) designer, katy howieson, who blogs at what katy did next and has an etsy shop too.  katy is currently working on her first bridal collection, which i'm sure will be a delight.

08 January 2011

a spot of culture...detroit in ruins

for anyone who didn't get the observer on sunday 2 january, i heartily recommend perusing the photos and accompanying article of two french chaps called yves marchand and romain meffre who have snapped their way around the ruins of detroit. 

who knew a major american city could be so run down, full of abandonment, full of decay, dust and fragmentation...a library with books still in it; a police station with crime records strewn all over the floor (maybe you don't have data protection over there...?!); a theatre that will never see its curtain rise again; a huge grand station just empty, no more trains, no more waiting; a school with plastic human model in bits on the floor, reflecting the human lives in bits in the city.

why is it like this?  why have things been just abandoned?  why is there no value attached to these buildings, to these things? 

it feels like such an incredible waste.

05 January 2011

a spot of culture...dan holdsworth at baltic

On Monday we finally managed to leave the house and walked from our house in the east of Newcastle to Baltic on the Gateshead side of the river Tyne.  It was so refreshing to get outside, to blow the cobwebs away a little.  The exhibition we went to see was Dan Holdsworth's Blackout images of glaciers and mountains in Iceland, which were so very striking and beautiful with black inky skies and white, shiny, slightly translucent ice.  P has spent time in both the Arctic and Antarctic so could understand the scale and impact of the images much better than me.  It was so very hard to know how big everything was, to know for sure whether what you were looking at was a glacier metres and metres wide or a collection of teeny tiny dirty ice crystals.

A visit to Baltic isn't complete without a visit to the shop, which is one of the few spots in Newcastle or Gateshead to get designer stationery, homeware, cool cards and a tremendous range of art and culture books...a bit like the shop in Tate Modern I guess.  I was thrilled to get a new Moleskine 2011 red diary half price!  And after much thrashing around I decided to go for the A5 rather than the pocket size to give me more note-taking space.  This is an attempt to help me be more creative and to move away from too much of a reliance on electronic guismos to move away from screens to a more analogue space...we'll just have to see how it goes!

01 January 2011

home sweet home...a soft day at home

Here is a soft (read: blurry) photo of my tree. It is very late, I know, as it is after Christmas but in that slightly soft (read: blurry) day that is 1 January, it is still making me feel all happy and warm inside.

Last night was a lovely, warm-hearted night at E's house for a low-key Mexican-themed evening for just five of us.  The food and company were delightful, the perfect antidote to the ridiculous over hyped-ness of new year.  It even featured a few rounds of Guitar Hero, what more could you want?

Christmas has been wonderful - spending the day with my boyfriend, P, opening parcels and eating all day.  P was surprisingly strict about parcel opening, which meant we didn't finish opening our gifts to each other until 21.30!  Our menu was perfect for us - mushrooms on eggy bread for breakfast then baked Camembert and warm bread for starter around 14.00 and then roast duck (mmm), roast potatoes and parsnips in the duck fat (double mmmm) and veg at around 20.00.  We didn't even get around to our pudding (mulled wine plums with mascarpone cream) or cheese and biscuits!

Our tour of the families and the UK (well, Yorkshire and Birmingham) has left us with some wonderful and very generous gifts plus some incredibly smelly Stilton that is over-taking the fridge despite being imprisoned within foil and a tupperware container.  It must be eaten soon!