25 August 2011

getting crafty...vintage map garlands

i was really lucky to stumble upon a whole box of vintage maps ranging from fairly ancient cloth automobile maps to more modern (80s?) european city paper maps. i've got lots of ideas to use them in my crafting projects and my first idea that has come to fruition is the vintage map garlands for hampshire open studios along with the vintage button magnets. what's even better is that one of the maps i used covers portsmouth, which is just around the corner from the event! i couldn't have planned it better!

these garlands are made from very old cloth bartholomew's quarter inch automobile map of great britain numbers 22 (london southwards) and 21 (portsmouth) threaded on to green and red cotton wool. here's a snap - sorry the bag is a bit shiny...

it did feel difficult cutting up a beautiful old map, musky with age, and threading it up in to a garland but at least this allows others to appreciate its fabulousness, just in a different form. i've got plans for the little bits left over so not much will go to waste.

23 August 2011

getting crafty...vintage button magnets

P's brother and his girlfriend invited me to contribute some crafty items to their studio space as part of hampshire open studios. outside of their day jobs they are both photographers and have set up a studio, purbeck cottage studio, to show their work and provide space for visiting artists.

i was thrilled to take part (even though i may be breaking the rules as i'm not a hampshire based artist) and have risen to the challenge with some vintage button magnets and vintage map garlands (a big vintage theme going on, clearly).

i'm really pleased with the button magnets. i used the buttons i've been collecting for years (some from my grandma, from my mum, from tins of buttons at car boot sales) from my button jar, which is an ancient pickled onion jar (don't worry, there's no lingering smell!) and some of those fancy neodymium super-strong magnets.

i've tried hard with the packaging too and have used some vintage matchbox labels featuring indian gentlemen, which i think look rather fetching. what do you think?

 i'll upload a post about the garlands in the next day or two.

14 August 2011

off on my travels...in america, again

for someone who never, ever had the slightest inclination to visit america, i've been here a lot, and i think this august trip is the fifth time now in two years. i blame my boyfriend, P, who is working in cape cod at the moment. he's a scientist doing important research to help us understand climate change. it means that, for the time being, to be able to see each other we both have to travel a lot - me to a place i never really wanted to go and him home to newcastle.

every time i come, i have lots of thoughts about what i see in this country that speaks english but is so very different to the uk. difference is good - diversity is a positive thing in our world. and some of the differences are good and some i don't like so much.  this time, i've decided to blog about them via a new blog series called 'in america'...how exciting.

do i need to say that this will be just my experiences of a teeny, tiny part of this huge country so won't be a true, representative reflection of the country and its people and that i'm writing from a place of stereotypes and prejudices, like anyone. do i need to say it? maybe.

13 August 2011

off on my travels...what i get up to on the plane

reading...how to be a woman by caitlin moran, a delightful, deliciously hilarious book about feminism that makes me laugh (almost outloud) every half page or so with her stories of growing up and being a woman. stories of periods, absence of desire in pornography, pubic hair, all the things we don't talk about, that are strangely political. she is the same age as me so her reference points from her youth are the same, which make it even better. i love her useful check - are men doing this? - and her story about what she calls her breasts just after giving birth makes me cry with laughter. i think the american's next to me must think i'm a bit odd.

listening to...the vaccines on my massive, bright-red headphones complete with a red cable, which makes me happy, being pleasantly surprised by BA's good mix of tunes (last time in february it was the xx). i'm sure the vaccines are totally unoriginal but i don't care, it's fun and loud and fast. mainly loud because the headphones are so great i can only have the volume on one notch without feeling it is too loud, fearing for the safety of my ear drums.

warming...my minature bottle of red (tempranillo this time) between my knees ready for my tea - does anyone else do this?!

marvelling...as i do every time i fly at the beauty of the clouds beneath us...some wispy streaks of vapour, barely visible; others are cotton wool balls of fluff in clumps, in rows; others whole blankets of white (cotton wool pleats? if we're continuing the cotton wool theme). looking out of the window half way there at a mass of blue, realising we must be crossing the ocean, and somewhere where the sky is so empty my eyes can't focus on anything leaving a haze of pale blue.

realising...how amazing physics and aviation is as we're flying at 11582 metres (38,000 feet) at 822kph (513mph) with an outside temperature of -57C, something that feels impossible but it's real, if hard to comprehend, and the miles left to travel on the screen click down like seconds.

off on my travels...a hot sticky delay

so here i am on the plane, on the ground, all delayed, waiting to take off to jet me across the world to see my boyfriend, P in the north east of america.  it seems pleasing to be travelling from the north east of england to another north east.

it's so hot we could be in an oven. this is not helping people's mood. the americans are getting tetchy. i don't think they've discovered the technique of breathing deeply and relaxing, slowing everything down, rather than wafting and fidgiting, creating nervous energy.

the heat didn't help with the overhead luggage saga - trying to fit too-big bags into too-small lockers doesn't work, except perhaps to illustrate people's lack of spatial awareness. i'm worried that hysteria is settling in. i have a feeling it will be a long flight...

off on my travels...on the train to leamington spa

i went off on my travels at the weekend, not that far, just newcastle to leamington spa. the train journey was wonderful, like watching the best film - the train windows reflecting the sun on to the fields all the way, fields of crops full of texture, velvet green, a glimpse of purple vegetables, pale yellow-brown sugar cubes of straw, a strip of pink weeds and a wild sprinkling of bright red poppies, huge marching lines of pylons and smaller telephone lines across the countryside, the sky punctuated by the dot of a hot air balloon, even the industrial buildings and those lost areas by the tracks and by stations have a certain attraction with 30s, 40s, 50s architecture, colourful metal buildings, tidy rows of machinery, abandoned and forgotten rail stock through the majestically curving stations of Newcastle, Darlington, York and the setting sun hiding then peering out behind the clouds.

and in leamington spa there was my best friend from school, M, the type of friend you lose contact with for years at a time and when you meet it's all OK, like you've never been out of touch. there was also her new husband and a cat that slept in a cardboard box. there was also rowing on the river and a proper italiano coffee in a wonderful cafe with grapes growing in the back courtyard, simply delightful.

[photos to follow when i'm back from holidaying]