Sunday, 24 May 2015

A weekend in a Welsh cabin

To celebrate my birthday last weekend Tom and I headed for a couple of nights in the Welsh countryside. I found a cute little cabin in mid-Wales (via Canopy & Stars) without TV or internet (hurrah!) with a log burner and only sheep for company.

Caban Coch (aka 'Red Cabin' as I found after checking a Welsh dictionary!) was decorated in a quirky vintage style and despite its small size was very well equipped with a cooker, mini fridge, double bed and shower. Plus the view from the window was beautiful, so it made for a really relaxing break. 

We spent a day at Aberdovey beach before heading to Dolgoch waterfalls. I had been here as a kid so it was really fun to go back and explore this Welsh 'rainforest' again.

We bought some Welsh-cakes, played board games and cosied up in front of the log burner. Even when it rained on our final evening it just made us feel even cosier so it was a perfect mini getaway.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Film Friday: Far from the Madding Crowd

Plot Thomas Hardy's story is set in the fictional Wessex, and revolves around Bathsheba, a strong independent woman whose uncle leaves her his farm to manage. She is pursued by three very different men - Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer,  Frank Troy, a mischievous soldier and William Boldwood, a wealthy bachelor. But Bathsheba doesn't want to be any man's property!
Guest appearances Carey Mulligan is great as Bathsheba, and Michael Sheen is also strong as Boldwood, although I wasn't quite as struck on the other male leads.
Fun facts Carey Mulligan was allowed to ride her own horse in the film and ended up getting concussion which lasted throughout 6 weeks of filming.
Overall I really enjoyed FFTMD; of course being a Hardy story there's a fair amount of tragedy (the film kicks off with a sad moment right at the beginning involving a flock of sheep!) The countryside scenes were beautiful and I have to admit I did do a fair share of 'aww'-ing when Gabriel gave her a pet lamb at the beginning- how can you say no to that, Bathsheba?! 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Made: Cushion covers

This blog was originally started as a way of documenting my creative projects and inspirations, but over the years I have let the 'make & do' aspect slip a little to the wayside. But moving house has meant the perfect chance for me to get creating again.

Since buying our burnt orange coloured armchair I wanted to make some cushions that were grey and orange to complement it, to go on our sofa opposite. I looked far and wide but couldn't find any fabric I really liked until a friend sent me a link to Miss Matatabi's fabric shop on Etsy. So many pretty patterns! And the postage was pretty cheap too. In the end I chose this Japanese fabric which I love.

I bought the cushions at Primark a few years ago for about £1 each - this was the original tartan cushion cover, slightly naff ... but it took me a while to get around to replacing them!

I followed this tutorial to make cushions with an envelope seam, perfect if you want to use two contrasting fabrics for the front and back. Last week my neighbour April (who has a lovely sewing blog, Thimbles & Teapots) kindly gave me some spare fabric to use on the back of the cushions so I was all set!

My sewing machine was given to me by my Nan who used it back in the '70s, and I'm happy to say it's still going strong! Although I did have to replace the thread in the bobbin to begin with, which took me forever as I'd forgotten how to do it (a YouTube tutorial helped!).

My sewing soundtrack was the new Sufjan Stevens album, perfect listening for a rainy evening.

I'm really happy with the final cushions (although I may invest in a rotary cutter next time as I found it hard to get straight lines when cutting the fabric). I'm glad I'm back in the creative loop and excited about more sewing projects now that I've dusted off my machine again!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Film Friday: Cobain - Montage of Heck

Plot Montage of Heck is a new documentary about Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. It's endorsed by his family and includes footage of Kurt as a toddler right through to home videos of him with Courtney and his own baby, Frances. 
Guest appearances Apart from family, Courtney features, in past footage and recent footage. I did notice that Dave Grohl was strangely absent (edit: after some googling, apparently Grohl's footage was recorded too late on to make it into the film).
Fun facts Montage of Heck was named after a mixtape Kurt made, which was released online last year featuring some of his favourite music.
Overall This was a really good documentary. The animated sections worked really well and brought some of Kurt's drawings to life, though Tom and I pondered afterwards whether we'd be happy with some of our personal sketchbooks being revealed to the world or not. Some of the footage is a bit uncomfortable to watch too as it is so personal. But I did enjoy seeing early clips of the band, and the music still sounds great; I was reminded of just how good a songwriter Kurt was.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

What I've Been Reading Lately

I've read some good books lately on my morning commute, here's a few recent favourites.

My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff

This memoir details the year Rakoff spent after graduation, working for a literary agent in New York in the mid '90s. The agency is stuck in the past and rejects modern technology in favour of old fashioned methods such as dictaphones and typewriters. One of Joanna's tasks is to reply to all of 'Jerry's fan mail'. She eventually realises Jerry is JD Salinger, the famously reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye and other novels.

I really enjoyed this account, which at times reminded me of the work experience I spent at an art book publisher in London when I was a student.

Displacement by Lucy Knisley

Lucy Knisley is one of my favourite graphic novelists. Her first book French Milk documents a foodie trip to Paris with her mother, and her latest is another travelogue, this time recording the time she spent on a cruise with her ageing grandparents.

At first the trip seemed like a lovely idea, spending more time with her grandfolks who are both in their nineties, but the trip proves as challenging as it does rewarding.

Some parts of the story definitely reminded me of my grandma who sometimes seems to take quite a negative outlook on life and is obsessed by the weather!

Clothes, Music Boys by Viv Albertine

I loved Viv Albertine's biography. Albertine was a guitarist in punk band The Slits and her memoir is in a word - honest. She spares no detail as she explains what it was like to grow up during punk, from hanging out with Sid Vicious to staying with junkies in squats in Amsterdam. There's also a funny chapter about her liaison with actor Vincent Gallo! I heard that Albertine is now writing a follow-up which I can't wait to read.

Have you read anything good lately?

Friday, 17 April 2015

60 years of Miffy

Three years ago whilst on holiday in Holland, Tom & I took a day trip to Utrecht, and top of my list was a visit to the the Dick Bruna Museum. It was a wonderful place filled with original drawings of Bruna's famous bunny, Miffy. I'd certainly recommend a trip if you're ever in the Netherlands as it's such a fun, colourful museum (with an excellent shop!)

On 21st June Miffy turns 60! I was contacted recently asking if I'd like to review some Miffy books to celebrate her birthday and I couldn't say no.

Miffy's Garden (she learns to grow her very own carrots!), Miffy's Birthday and Miffy and Melanie ( a more recent tale in which she gets a visit from a penpal) are all sweet books that would make lovely gifts for younger children. (Or young at heart adults.. ahem). For even higher levels of cuteness visit the Miffy blog here.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Bits of my house

We've been in our new home for just over a month now, and despite one room being full of boxes we are starting to get the house into shape! This week I've had a few days off work and it's been lovely to spend time in the garden, planting seeds in the sunshine and hanging out washing - things that are quite everyday but are things we didn't have chance to do in the flat. 

Tom's been busy drilling shelves, while I've been scouring charity shops for mid-century furniture. I had my heart set on finding a dressing table and was happy to find a nice one in the British Heart Foundation shop in Nottingham. And of course we have made several trips to Ikea. We managed to find this orange armchair in the sale section as it had been discontinued, hurrah!

It's also been great to get the log burner going on the cold nights when we first moved in.

It's been fun exploring a new area now we are a few miles outside of the city. There are some nice little cafes here, two ace pubs, an abundance of charity shops and an amazing greengrocer called Fred Hallam's.

Moving house is certainly a challenge, but it's worth it now we have more space and a place that's all ours. There's still quite a bit to do, including sanding and painting a dining chair and table, painting the bathroom and making some cushions to match the armchair. I'll share more pictures as we progress!

And here's one last shot (because it's nice to see more realistic images on blogs these days...) of our box spare room. Argh! Right, back to unpacking..