Sunday, 20 December 2009

✱ 100+counting ✱

I've been snowed in and's been upside down, inside out crazy here behind the hedge and now a calm has settled on us like the snow,  home has never felt kinder and never tasted sweeter. I am grateful for warm beds and fires and to all the kind wishes and thoughts I have received recently via seasonal greetings. 
We had a great snowfall, the light has been a magical blue and I've had a rotten stinking cold, it always happens after the busiest times, 
guard down, germs in. 
But now, presents are wrapped, food is bought, orders are completed and it's time to enjoy a few days with my precious people until I fly to the sun and mystical magical India. This blog is going to come with me & I hope you'll join me on my travels and adventures, power cuts withstanding I should be able to keep my online diary which has been a life saver more than you'll know. This is my 100th post and while I feel like it should have trapeze artists and balloons and tumbling clowns it's just me saying thank you. 
Thanks for your encouragement and friendship and all the reaching out and connecting that goes beyond this page. It can be lonely working as a lone ranger and the blog really helps me work things out sometimes. A letter off of steam and a place to rant. So thanks for keep dropping by, I love to see you all, the kettle is always on.
I want to wish you and your loved ones a magical winter party, a celebration to drive away the demons and ghosts.
Let the love in... It's Christmas! Yay! 

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

⁂ gimme five ⁂

I would like to say that I am serenely floating through the festive preparations like a floating focused goddess but that is so far from the truth I want to curl up and sleep for a few days. I've been working, decorating and shopping like a whirling dervish. I finally got to print my seasonal greetings cards late last night filling the house with the heady smell of flouro ink (circa 1980). It was a lovely few hours of production and I dreamed that I could do that all the time in a little cottage by the sea with only the wind and rain for company and a few squealing seagulls, a radio and a pot of finest printer's tea. Note how my dreams are of escape and isolation?
My co-designer has gone a.w.o.l so I can't offer to send her some of the cards so if any of my dearly beloved readers would like a card from me then just email me your address and I will send you one with love.
I hope you are all feeling organised, rested and heading towards the holidays with gusto.
I've a while to go yet.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Friday, 20 November 2009

❣ For Friday ❣

For Friday has come around again and as somebody said to me this morning, it's only five weeks until Christmas.
This troubles me a little.
This week I have been running 'on the spot'. There's a lot of movement, a lot of arm flailing but I'm not getting anywhere. My mind is going overtime and a half
I woke up in the night and wrote this:-

The doubting begins & I don't know what I need to do anymore. Could I twirl into an about turn and become another creature? But the same glum one stares back at me in the unforgiving mirror. I want to learn to write in Japanese and become as unflinching as a cat. Become a discoverer, a tightrope walker, an astronomer, a chef, a poet, a soother of wounds there is no medicine for. Become a fairy on a Christmas tree, I'll be a bauble that dangles and leaves a cloud trail in the night. A scarecrow in a field might have more warmth than me so I shall become a student of garden gates and solid fridge air.

I dunno?
Just sharing. That's what blogging is for...

Actually I am filled with a giddy excitement about a new project I have dreamed of for years. It's starting to become a  more tangible shape now, I can actually put my finger on thoughts and hold them like struggling beetles so it's closer to realising and I have much much work to do. I wish I could tell you more but for now it's a shushy thing. All will be revealed in 2010. I suppose my night ramblings are the twinkles of self doubt but my dad always said "you can do anything you want" so I'm going to believe in my bigger picture. For him, if not for myself.

Have a lovely weekend my treasures. You are the jewels in my inbox.

Monday, 16 November 2009

〖jumping through the week〗

Thanks to all you lovely dreamy people for sending me your festive lusts, I mean lists. 
It was fun reading them all and the one that I thought would make a 
grand design was this one which I have typeset and am preparing 
to have made into a printing plate. 
The only thing was sent by 'anonymous'. 
Please, please contact me anonymous. 
I want to thank you properly for 80% of designing my card.

Obviously I will share the making process, the swearing and thrashing of my Adana as it happens live from
behind the hedge.
It's been a couple of really busy weeks and looks like it's about to explode with busyness again. 
I am flying to India on 1st January so the blog will be going very "beyond" for a while.
I aim to keep you updated with tales from there which will predictably contain yogic anecdotes
and lots of talk of food and heat and my funny landlady. You are going to love her kitchen.
More on that soon.

I had a great time teaching rubber stamp making at The Make Lounge  

We've been making stamps like this and turning them into labels, tags and cards. 
Tremendous fun and I keep forgetting my camera to show you the amazing things people have been making. 
Will try to remember for the other workshops.

Tagged by Suzie {who seems to live an idyllic existence in France taking photographs (proper ones) visiting 
gorgeous places and no doubt drinking vats of red wine} to choose a 
song that makes me happy and I have chosen
because it made me happy when I was a kid and I remember my dad 
singing along with it trying to hold all the long notes. 
I still smile when I hear it now and it's almost always a lovely day. 
I don't usually choose songs that make me happy, 
I usually listen to dark things that make me feel a bit melancholic, 
which must be why I am so bursting with sunshine!
Can't find a video link to Bill Withers, 
probably because the song is as ancient as me.

But, I wanted to leave you with this video I found that makes my head 
feel funny and happy in a sad way?
Look, it's not easy being me.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

┉ one page wonders ┉

Last week I had the pleasure of running artist's books workshops at The Southbank Centre for half-term. I was holding court outside The Saison Poetry Library which was word heaven for me.  All those books and publications to drool over.
The Poetry Library is a wonderful free resource in London and it is an oasis of calm on the fifth floor of The Southbank Centre. The workshops were great fun and I met some really lovely families joining in the creative jollities.
We were making books from one sheet of paper which is really simple and very effective with a smattering of applied creativity. And best of all, it was free to drop in and make.
I had a splendid time.
Pictured is one of our creations. "Motheaten"

I'm still collecting your Christmassy lists and hope to make some decisions by the end of the week. It's not far away is it? 
Gulp. I'm planning a proper family time and I am decorating my lounge in anticipation of my new couch which is scarily gorgeous and filling me with fizz. Please note that I get about an hour a day to proceed with said renovations which means I am living in a total chaotic slump. But it's nice to let it all go.  Shrug. 
Mess schmess...

Friday, 23 October 2009

ʚ lend me your lists ʚ

It's coming around to that time of year. I want to make my winter greetings cards and I am asking for your help...As you are all creative intelligent and generous bloggers would you mind taking part in a little task?
I have been completely inspired by 'Shopping Losts'  I have been in touch with Simon the creative genius behind the blog and he has given us his blessing. 

Wonderful shopping list finds transformed into typographical creations. 
I am well jell of this brilliant idea. 

So here's the thing. What is on your seasonal list?
Is it a list of presents you'd secretly like to receive?
Things you want to accomplish/make/resolve by Christmas?
A shopping list for the big cook in?
Presents to buy?
A new years resolution list?
If you send me your list either by email (if you are shy) or add it to the comments.
If you are in possession of a working scanner you could scan your hand written list in and send it to me. {forever humbly grateful for this kind of activity}

I will have the list I love made into a zinc plate for printing and it will be letterpressed by me as this years Christmas card, for me to send out to all my contacts and loved ones. I may typographically arrange it depending on the list.
You will of course get a set of cards yourself and I will add you as my co-artist.
How brilliant will that be?
Please please help, it will be so much fun and remember, it can be as ordinary as you like. I'm gonna love them all.

Here is a list circa 2004 by a young lady who will undoubtedly mash me if she ever reads this blog.
But it's good. Sshhhhhh. Mum's the Word.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

⤷⤷⤷ Somewhere Softly Sleeping

I'm going to pop a couple of my hand painted postcards in the shop
I was going to sell them as prints but I just don't feel good about it for various reasons.
Some things have to stay original.
The colours are very warm and soft and they 
don't translate to print at all well.
The reverse is blank apart from the postcard markings incase anyone wants to send a real painting through the post or write a personal greeting. 
They were inspired by my visits to the exhibition Garden and Cosmos at The British Museum earlier this year. And of course, my ongoing love affair with India. Painting them makes me feel simply serene. I've got a few to finish but I see no serenity in the near future. It's crazy over here behind the hedge.

Monday, 19 October 2009

◌○ diary pages ○◌

Not much to tell, got a new zippy scanner that makes my old one look and feel like a dinosaur. 
I do hate that pile of packaging to dispose of, leaflets and discs to file and the crawling around rearranging leads and wires business. Tis all done now so here's some diary pages that I scanned...
I do love artist's sketch books/journals...much of my recent weeks have consisted of long lists of 'to dos' which isn't half so interesting as balmy summer evenings spent doodling.
I'm heading for my busiest weeks and I'm a flurry of emails, proposals and work.
Having spent ages sorting through my letterpress and Adana stuff I'm longing for a few days practise but it will have to wait...

Friday, 16 October 2009

▼ pot/kettle/black ▼

It's not going to be easy to blog about my letterpress experiments. 
It's impossible to see the sumptiousness (is that even a word?)
of the image or type pressed ever so slightly into the paper. 
I'll have to get my super zoomy lens out to prove it when the sun comes out~
oooo ~ about next march.
Ever so many ages ago I bought for half a crown or thereabouts a box of copper plates,
I couldn't see how beautiful they were til I got around to print them
& I love them so.
I have no idea what to do with them, I'm too busy cooing over them like 
a louloulovesbooks in a stationary shop.
But the best bit was finding an unused tin of flouro pink ink
to print with, which isn't showing up too well either on this image.
You'll just all have to come around and have a look for yourselves.

Some other exciting news is that among the many workshops and teaching things I've got coming up I'm teaching 'make your own rubber stamps' at The Make Lounge  for a few dates in October and November, 
concentrating on holiday gift tags and cards. Remember these? 
I'm excited to be working at such a lively venue with so many creative classes being offered.
Sadly, my workshops sold out within a day, you've got to be quick to get on these courses at The Make Lounge .
Sign up for the newsletter and be the early bird that catches the worm.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

♁ lessons in letterpress ♁

Last week I had a great day with Vicky and Chrissie at 
Harrington & Squires.  
Once upon a time, a long time ago, far away in another land etc etc I bought, for a ridiculously small sum, a whole load of letterpress furniture, type in cases and two Adana presses. And it has so far languished in every available space in my shed/ house/under the stairs. I nearly gave it away, I stubbed my toe on it all, I cursed it,  I tried to print with it a couple of times and failed miserably. I had forgotten what all the things were for and needed a refresher. 
I noticed that Harrington & Squires did day courses and with much excitement I put myself in their very capable hands. 
It was a lovely, inspirational and educational day. 

I relearned all the basics, some technical terms (albeit all forgotten already as demonstrated yesterday whilst attempting to print with Simon Goode "can you pass me one of those thingummys please?") and came away with a set of business cards all handprinted by me and a new found desire to letterpress my life away. Of course, there is much left to learn but I am so happy to realise that it's a wonderful addition to my skills and I want to do more.

I know these pictures don't do letterpress much justice, 
the letters are debossed into the card with ink and feel really really good.
{I've blurred my phone number since I became a member of the witness protection programme}
Chrissie and Vicky were great teachers, patient and very knowledgeable about their subject. The studio itself is a dream to work in, it's called The Corridor for good reason, spread over three floors it's delightfully laid out with inspiration everywhere. I highly recommend a day there. Have an idea about something you would like to print...I was hopelessly unprepared.

I learned the basics of type and how to put it in a chase, lots of useful stuff about inking up and registration. After lunch I had a whole afternoon of printing my heart out, the day whizzed by and was over before I could draw breath. I left filled up with enthusiasm and another new skill. 
I'm so excited about printing up all the old printing plates I found with my Adana booty. 
Invitation to a South Seas Dance anyone? 

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


One of my birthday presents.
I love useful presents.
My daughter bought me a weighted hula hoop.
I'm loving it. 10 minutes a day for a flat tummy apparently.
I took a while to master it and I can now keep it afloat for 5 minutes. 
I would like to teach Twiggy to jump through it 
so we can be a bizarre circus act,
but she runs a mile when I put it on as does anyone within 3 metres.
So with my yoga, swimming and dog walking I'm mostly knackered.
It's enough to make anyone reach for a cigarette and a bottle of gin.
**photo by Meg B**

Sunday, 4 October 2009

✳ Inspiration or Plagiarism ✳ {opening the debate}

It's tricky this internet stuff... there is so much creativity out there and if you start to surf then you will be bombarded by images upon images, waves of  quick fixes for  jaded minds and some of what I see is exemplary and some of it is mediocre, at best. But worse than that, so much of it is samey~samey/matchy~matchy and I start to suffocate with blandness. In fact, I've stopped looking. I love the regular blogs that I visit and am totally inspired by. Or the ones where I can see creativity budding and forming from the right places and they gladden my heart (for tis a frosty one). I love the blogs that tell me about the latest amazing things out there in windywonderwebland because half the time I don't get time and it is right and proper that I do not live in a bubble. Increasingly, I worry that MY ideas and unique ways get appropriated and I have hesitations about posting them. In a world where everyone seems to have a blog/opinion/voice I want mine to be as unique as possible, as creative as it can be. Which leaves me in a quandary. 

To post or not to post? 

My creativity is my living, my reason to live, it fills my every moment and I have so much invested in it. It comes and goes and I have days/weeks of frustrating going nowhere moments and I think I should just get a 'normal' job and then huge vats of creative harvest arrive and I can't sleep or eat, I have to get it out. It is honestly like giving birth every time. I suffer, everyone around me suffers and in the end it's done or not and I move onto the next thing. For in me, there is a wealth of ideas. They pop out around my ears like sparkles and if I don't grab them they burst and drift. I don't invest too much in grabbing every one, they can be annoying because I can't give them a name or a voice and sometimes I'm just too arted out.  But also, every now and then I do something or make something and realise it's just like something I have seen. Now have I plagiarised it or been inspired by it? I just don't know. There is so much in my head (like a bustling bazaar) I'm not sure where half of it came from. It must have arrived from somewhere. Either it's all my ancestor's voices jostling for some creative relief or it's all my own work. But everything I see, everything I read must  make it's mark like handwriting on my soul and changes who I am and how I see things for ever.

Take this image...nice eh? I got home from holiday and in the garden all my chillies had come to harvest, my Mr picked them and arranged them all in a bowl and I took them outside today and arranged them into rows because that seems to be my OCD/Virgo way and because it was pleasing and because I loved the shapes of the shadows. I wasn't thinking oooo I'm making art, I was just playing. Took some snaps and this one jumped out. I felt quite pleased with myself. Then I realised it was just like Anna's work from the wonderful blog Colour and Sound

Now, I love Anna's  work and I would be totally horrified if anyone thought I had copied her wonderful unique style. But I am totally acknowledging I must have been influenced by her which led me to great and deep thoughts this morning. Notice acknowledge has the words 'know' and 'led' in it. I wrestle with this stuff. I have noticed elements of my uniqueness creeping in out there in other blogs and I get upset but then I think I have got so many more ideas inside me ~ I come from a huge line of unique people and I'm sure they are all in my head urging me on. I would hate to not blog about my work, in my style, because I teach and I love that I have inspired people and this is the best platform for that, it would be a shame if I stopped. If I inspire you, then acknowledge it, it's only polite and if you can't be unique then do something else. I've got a living to earn.

What do you all think?

It's all too philosophical on a Sunday morning that's for sure. I hate to sound like a lecture with a waggy finger but I'm interested in how you all deal with this too? 

With deep apologies to lovely Anna and I hope she doesn't mind that I used her as an example. But she is just so damn inspiring. And here's one of  my own images, I just love piles of stuff! Now what can I do with all these chillies? Make chilli jam? Shame to waste them and they are very hot. Maybe a garland of them for the kitchen to brighten those dark nights that are on their way, galloping like a train towards us. I wonder how long they will last if I glued them to the wall! Maybe I'll cast them in plaster. I'll keep you posted  ;-)

Have a good week...

Saturday, 3 October 2009

································· ✈

"gee, but it's great to be back home,
 home is where I want to be"
                           {Paul Simon}

What can I tell you? I wish I could show you everything...

peachy light on mountains at dawn 
the bigdog/ littledog woofing festival 
pomegranate trees
doorbells that sang with bursts of bird song
plates of seedy chewy fig jam 
fresh cool mountain water meeting the fizzing tinsel sea
a table sized pitta bread pregnant with steam
a warm rainstorm squeezed us under a parasol and made a cage of droplets to trap us
garlands of drying chillies reddening and oranging on every balcony
the cliff that roared above our beach hideaway
the sharp smell of the pine forest behind the sand
the fisherman who spoke no English but made friends with smiles and gestures
cool sweet tins of cherry juice 
enchanting shoeshine and damp beach towels
family life on a balcony, sofas and tvs in the evening light
a haunting swirling call to prayer
cicadas singing their evening love song
hot sharp apple tea
sizzling courgette fritters
hypnotised by a fan into a deep hot sleep
ripe moody tomatoes and crumbly village cheese
unmade roads leading to perfect tiny beaches
the town like a shaken tablecloth spread below us

Thursday, 24 September 2009

≋ chi-qi breakfast ≋

Early morning meanders with sea ruffles
and big deep breaths of chi≋
the lure of breakfast on the horizon. 
{the dipping heron has already taken his flicking fish}

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

·⋰· afternoon {de}light ·⋱·

Please excuse the lack of transmission, the heat has clouded my words


Wednesday, 16 September 2009

✿·····it's my party and I'll cry if I want to·····✿

Disaster struck today... made a postcard for my blog and planned to upload a few things when clickity click fizz...
my scanner stopped working... for no reason, I've checked all leads and plugs and even gave it a firm tap
but alas nothing. So, as I am about to jet off for my annual family visit to Turkey, I am sans scanner which is a 
pain because it means I have to probably buy a new one on my return. I do need it a lot for work so as always~
he giveth and he taketh away. 
So, if you have any scanny hints or recommendations, pray do tell.

On Sunday it is my birthday. I've been having a trip down memory alley and found these gems I scanned in last year. That's me showing off a stunning example of a daisy chain, I remember everything.. the dress, the day, my dear pa taking the shot. Sometimes a door opens in an adulthood that lets the childhood flood back in. 
Everlasting summers and roller skates and sisters. 

So whilst I am on my travels, visiting my sister and  hopefully reading and swimming and sunning myself; I hope you all keep yourselves safe and well and carry on blogging because I'll try to; internet connections allowing.

I'll leave you with this darling pic of my mama, papa and me, back in the day.
I am so loving my mum's hairwrap, my dad's playful stance and those divine pegs.
And my little curled toes.
Once upon a time, everything was perfect.

Monday, 14 September 2009

✣ladies & gentlemen:boys & girls✣

Forgive me dear friends for my delay, t'was a weekend of madness, work, family and the x factor.
I had to finish all these tomes for a special order and because I was making them decided to make a few more to put in the shop.
I really enjoyed binding these and finishing them without any disasters (said in French accent) is always a relief. I must turn purple with holding my breath whilst gluing out those precious papers that must remain white and pure at all times.

The books are mixed sketch books and notebooks made with various ephemera and good paper. The foredges look nice all lined up so you can see the insides.

But this is all to digress from the real excitement here 
Who won the giveaway?

I'm really pleased as her blog is so great and champions all paper/book artists everywhere and is a great source of inspiration and information. 

And here's the winning ticket, electronically produced

Congratulations to Eleanor and to me for managing to change my blogging habits of having all the images at the top and all the text underneath which quite frankly annoyed me to bits. 

Have a great week...

Thursday, 10 September 2009

✳•La Twig•✳

As promised, the story of Twiggy who landed in my life last Saturday.
A friend told me that she was looking for a temporary home for a rescued dog, I said, No. Not interested.
Then she came round for a cuppa with her and the minute I laid eyes on her I was smitten.
She has been a bit neglected, her coat is thin and patchy and dry, she was in a cage for a long time so her back legs are weak. She has got amber eyes and the sweetest nature. On the first day, I actually found myself filling up with tears as she gazed at me with adoration. She's so affectionate, well behaved. 
She doesn't beg for food, doesn't moult and I've never seen her jump up at anyone. These are all important to me. 
And I get to get up really early and take her for a walk which she loves and the first light is the best light so off we trot with camera and poo bag and we are a happy pair.
I'm not sure that she may have to return to my friend who is missing her but she agrees that Twig is very happy with me so it looks like she's here to stay.

This changes everything.
Including my waist line from all the walks.

Don't forget to leave your comments here for the Passport to Paris book giveaway.
It ends tomorrow.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

---->me me me me me<----

Oh, I nearly fell off my chair,  I am on the front page of Etsy.
I'm just having a gleeful moment of glee
{And that's almost a poem}
Just had to share it

Sunday, 6 September 2009

✪ giving and receiving ✪

September... my birthday month. And my sweet sister gave me an early bird gift as I am off on my hols soon. This corsage from "seventyseventyone" . Not only do I adore my sister for going for the handmade gift which is close to my well being and that of the huge artistic community here on the widewonderfulweb, but that she made such a superb choice. The turquoise/teal corsage is handmade merino wool and soft as Twiggy's eyebrows (who's Twiggy? keep up, see blogpost below) it's one of those great accessories that will keep on working time after time. I can see it on a bag or a scarf or on my winter coat and it's going to look pretty fab just nonchalantly lying on my dressing table. 
(dressing table is a rather grand term for the big old mess that is a flat surface in my room) 
And it feels so nice I keep running my fingers through it to ruffle it up.

Gail at "seventyseventyone" does a delicious wrapping service 
(which is the understated joy of Etsy purchases)
and I love it. It takes the pain out of approaching forty effing six.
And my Mr didn't do too bad at taking the pic did he? And I felt ok about relinquishing control of the camera. 

For all late/newcomers, don't forget to comment on the giveaway blog postdown there somewhere

Saturday, 5 September 2009

♥hound of love♥

Somehow, I ended up with a dawg.
This is Twiggy, Twig or Twigster but never Twiglet.
Will tell all next week and promise not to bore you to bits with dog pics and tales endlessly forever into eternity...
Just one story to melt your frozen bloggy hearts

Friday, 4 September 2009

*76th post giveaway*

I have a new book in the shop
And to celebrate I am giving one away. YAY!
You know what to do, it's the usual leave a comment and I'll randomly generate
the numbers to choose a winner.
The book you will win will be dark blue and number 4/30.
It's got all the usual loulou ingredients,
domestic tangles and insects.
To read more about it just hop on over to Etsy.
I'll close the draw next Friday 11th September @ midnight
to keep things fair and square.
Thanks loyal bloggers, you're all swell.