Thursday, 28 May 2009

Lettuce for eyelashes

We are running an animal vegetable competition at our local community fun day on June 20th to raise money for epilepsy charities (National Society for Epilepsy and Epilepsy Bereaved). We normally rotate a mix of traditional fete games, but following the amazing success of the animal vegetable competition we held at our wedding (yes, a wedding with a twist!) we have decided to hold an Animal Vegetable Competition at this year's Fun Day. Everyone really enjoyed this and the ideas and creativity just blew us away! The fun day is part of an annual arts and community festival, two weeks of events all organised by volunteers living in Furzedown. If you are passing through South West London, do drop in!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Button Willow Bazaar

Get away from it all at whitsuntide

Hope you all had a lovely bank holiday and lots of outings this Whitsuntide. We went to the London Transport Museum. These posters are from their wonderful poster collection.

The museum is one of my favourites. I love old transport, and here you can climb aboard and take little trips to the past.

We also played London Transport bingo! And marvelled at the very nice cushions in the shop made from unused old seat material.

But best of all, I love the celebration of design. The design of the interiors, the fonts, maps, signage, even the LT Canteen biscuit cutter that stamped 'LTB shortie' onto the staff biscuits. We guessed that LTB stood for London Transport Biscuits! All made with such style and joy of good design. The poster collection is just beautiful. These are all from the Whitsun series, but I also spotted adverts for 'Blackberry Sunday' and 'Chestnut Sunday'.

I love the idea of weekends dedicated to seasonal events like picking blackberries. There was even a travel guide to the best blackberry sites! I suspected these were LT travel gimmicks, but to my surprise discovered there is Chestnut Sunday every year in Bushy Park to celebrate the blossom in May! I quite fancy the idea of sloe gin Monday, a day off in the countryside picking sloes! What would be your seasonal celebration Sunday outing?

More ice cream

Must be something to do with the bank holiday, but here's more ice cream art from the lovely people at Solitaire (did you spot the giant cone in Xtina's print?). This image is available as a tea towel, t-shirt and a postcard. I like the wasp.

P.S. Just seen another one over at British Cream Tea .

P.P.S. And Aleximo has just found some more on Folksy.

Do you have some favorite ice cream art?

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Sneek peek

Hopefully the recipient of this will have received it by now, so here's a little peek at what I made for the UK Handmade Secret Swap. 

And first attempt with the new labels!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Gocco galore!

I've been meaning to write about Xtina Lamb's work for a while, and what better excuse than to celebrate her new Etsy shop. An artist and illustrator, Xtina has been producing beautiful print gocco work for a few years and took part in Mark Pawson's Print More Postcards Gocco project.

She uses her Gocco machines to produce cards, prints and artists books, and she can regularly be found at Artist's Book and Small Press fairs as well as this years craft events. Her inspiration includes seaside towns and the beauty of the coast, such as this beach inspired book 'Swept away', which has also influenced her larger pieces.

These influences can also be found in her photography, which was included in Glimpse Margate. We were very lucky to have a specially made picture from Xtina using gingham from our wedding and seaweed from the beach near where we married.

Her work also draws on a love of quirky 50s design and everyday ephemera and urban life celebrated in her many postcard prints and artisits books, such as 'The world belongs to Jane and me'. A page from this is at the beginning of this post and this work is available to buy from her website. Her latest venture, over at Etsy, is Printed Wonders. She has produced a range of alphabet bunting in candy colours available in a choice of interchangeable printed letters or numbers in a fancy vintage typeface and a range of symbols. Perfect for weddings, birthdays or any celebration or to customise a room. Good luck Xtina!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


I've recently developed a fondness for cones. Ice cream cones. The plastic ones used to advertise, well ice creams.
I've started taking pictures of them and I'm wondering why I haven't done this already. I've also discovered I am not alone! They have to be a particular type to grab my attention - no cornetto impostors here! Generally these ice cream signs have a 99 or Mr Whippy look to them and seem to be in varying states of disrepair.

They are mostly found in seaside towns outside piers and shops. Although I have yet to search for their urban counterparts, I suspect inland ice cream signs are mostly in the form of the evil cornetto (a parody of an ice cream that lacks the irony of a Mr Whippy and with packaging that misses the point of the cone).

I must admit, I'm not that keen on Mr Whippys, having been spoilt by the yummy Hockings.

But I'm a fan of the signs. I like the simplicity of their design as well as the naive silliness of using giant versions of food as advertising. I guess they resonate with my nostalgic love of anything from my childhood that looks as if it has a diminishing future. These signs I'm sure will gradually be replaced by over-coloured cornettos (you may have guesed I really don't like these!).

But most of all I think it's the incongruity with their surroundings, run down seaside towns, rainy holidays and cold grey days on the coast. And whatever the weather, a seaside ice cream is always something special. Especially a giant plastic one.

on the Naze

We had a weekend in Essex with friends and were introduced to the unexpected delights of the Naze Tower. Overlooking the Naze peninsular, the Tower combines tea shop, art gallery and viewing platform. I liked this glass by Daphne Sandham, made with beachcombed pieces, and the cow prints in the tea shop.
It was very windy at the top, but lovely views out to sea and towards Harwich.

We walked along the coast into Walton-on-the-Naze and were treated to all the icons of gentile british seaside, including beach huts, seashell walls, out of place architecture and municipal shelters...
and hints at Walton's possible revolutionary past with the ruins of modernist villas and the socialist realism cinema... We wanted to rescue the house from the creeping uPVC.

We were rewarded on Walton pier with fairy cakes and a game of bowls. The pier is dominated by an uninviting shed that covers much of the structure, but once inside I grew to like it. Mainly I think from the sight of some real fairy cakes for a change, not this cupcake nonsense!

The bowling alley is at the end of the 'shed' complex, through a desolate arcade and fair. It's a fab location, with a view of the waves as you bowl and lanes named after planets. I really like the design of the chairs. They are common in lots of bowling complexes. I also liked Super Sonic! Like most arcade games, they are nothing like their names, but have big dreams and what's wrong with that.

Monday, 18 May 2009


Exciting parcels in the post today as I have just got my Fabric Nation labels. I'm really pleased with them. Up until now I had been using woven school labels, which I really like, but wanted something with my logo on. I used Tanners Woven Labels who were very helpful and sent a 'proof' version before they made them up. I had trouble deciding on the colour as I use so many different colour fabrics. In the end I decided on orange as I love the way it blends with browns and yellows, but really brings out blues and greens too. And as for orange and pink... I love it! They are designed so I can sew them into the seams or hand stitch around the edges. The logo design is based on 1950's hotel and motel signs, like this one, which we went past tons of times on holiday a few years back, but never managed to get a photo of.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Look carefully...

...these little gems are hidden

and come in many shapes and sizes

and beautiful colours

worn smooth by the sea.

I amazed myself finding all these from just two beaches during our week away. I love the sea blue gems that are washed up on the beach. But feel sad as I search for these drops of sky when I find broken bottles on our beaches. It's such a shame that our beaches can be so easily destroyed, but we are lucky, that some of this rubbish turns to these little jewels. Shame we can't be as lucky with all our pollution. I love the feel of sea glass, the act of searching and not seeing and then discovering, their beautiful worn edges, and how the best colours are the hardest to find. Can you guess where I was looking...

I have plans for these, along with my collection from glass beach in California. I need to practice drilling little holes so I can string a few on a silver chain. Searching for pictures of glass, I also came across the work of these talented jewellers who combine silver and glass and a little inspiration from the sea. Here are just a few, working with glass washed up on beaches all of the world, that could have come from anywhere. At Folksy, the UK based Beach Shack Project.

Over in Canada, I love how Seaglassdesigns combines the glass with silver seaweed strands or creates little sea creatures...

...and the use of pottery fragments worn by the sea, but this is a favourite.

And from Puerto Rico, Oceano Seaglass makes these pendants and lovely silver spirals.


and in the US, Artwithannie makes rings with her seaglass.

I can almost hear the sea.