Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Category Archives: Fashion

Back to the real world…

It already seems a long time since my holiday. I have spent the past week faffing about trying to fix my internet connection which has been sporadic at best, dropping every couple of minutes at worst. #2 son was here and his connection was fine, so it was obviously my laptop which was the problem. I tried everything I could think of to fix it, rang my Mac guy for advice, followed his suggestions but no joy. To cut a VERY long story short, after days of increasingly desperate measures (including buying a new router) I was diverted by a pop up which kept appearing during my few and far between connected moments. It was called ‘Real Player Downloader’ and had started appearing since I updated ‘Real Player’. I decided it was so annoying that it had to go. I googled how to get rid of it – and found a thread on an Apple forum suggesting that if network connections were constantly dropping, Real Player Downloader might be the problem. I deleted it and lo and behold, hallelujah! Internet restored and no irritating pop up in one fell swoop. Joy.

When I haven’t been fiddling with my laptop, I have been searching for the garage keys which I had just before I went to Los Angeles, but which have now vanished. Can’t blame anyone else, I have lost them. I have given myself until Monday to find them and then I shall have to call out a locksmith – so annoying! It’s a good job I am so mellow after my trip or I would be going mad after such a frustrating week.

I thought I would have been making lots of lovely books by now but I have been so distracted and next week looks no better. I have some lovely friends from Vancouver coming to stay next weekend as we are all going to a wedding together, so I have gone into sort-the-house-out mode, which involves lots of dusting and tidying up. I like it when I have visitors because apart from the fun of having people to stay, it also means my house gets a thorough clean. Housework is so not one of my favourite things.

I’m really looking forward to the wedding. The bride is the daughter of some friends of mine and as they are an Indian family the wedding is going to be a traditional Sikh ceremony and we have all been requested to wear traditional Indian clothes. Most of the female guests are looking forward to dressing up, but from what I understand, the English male guests have chickened out and are wearing lounge suits! I am SO looking forward to wearing the shalwar kameez I have bought – which is a 3 piece outfit consisting of a knee length tunic over loose trousers with a matching shawl – all made out of silk and beautifully embroidered with sequins and beads. I promise you lots of photographs after the wedding next Saturday. One good thing is that I intend to make them a photograph album as a gift so at least I will have a new book to show you. The groom is a photographer – so no pressure there then….

Finally, à propos of absolutely nothing – but especially for Creechman who has a penchant for blonde actresses (and brunette actresses come to think of it…..)

This is SO cute, I’ll never eat octopus again (not that I could ever eat octopus now – all those tentacley suckery bits…..

A nice day out

I had such a nice day yesterday. My girlie mate, Amanda, suggested we had a girls’ day out and we decided to go to Totnes in Devon. We chose Totnes as some friends, Sarah and Joe, have an art gallery there called White Space. It’s a really lovely gallery, selling a wonderful range of contemporary art. We went to see their Summer Exhibition which started yesterday. It was really excellent – you can view it online here. It was hard to choose a favourite but here are two I particularly liked – the first is ‘Peonies’ by Sarah Bowman and ‘Misty River Dart’ by Wendy McBride.

Of course, no girlie day out is complete without lots of shopping and a nice lunch. We managed to find both. After some very successful clothes shopping (a skirt, a top and a gorgeous little flimsy cardigan/wrap thing) I was thrilled to find a small but wonderful stationery shop called ‘Paperworks’ – a little gem and I bought some very pretty papers which you will no doubt see adorning some new books over the next few weeks. After a walk by the river and a cup of tea and a piece of carrot cake (Diet? What diet?) we decided to head for home but on the way back we stopped off in Lyme Regis, a beautiful little seaside town, on the Dorset/Devon border. You may remember Lyme Regis as the setting for the book/film ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’

The harbour wall where Meryl Streep is walking is known as the Cobb and dates back to the 13th century. Amanda and I walked the length of the sea front, past some very pretty thatched cottages and houses which I suspect are holiday homes, to the Cobb and then walked to the end of the Cobb to pose for our ‘Meryl Streep’ moment. It was quite breezy as you can tell from the windswept hairstyles, so no clues as to my new hair do just yet…

The views are quite spectacular. We could see across Lyme Bay to Burton Bradstock, which as you may know is my favourite local beach (see my header photo). The whole coastline here is called the Jurassic Coast, as it is full of fossils. We were amused to notice the lamp posts are all decorated with ammonite motifs to celebrate the rich heritage of this pretty and historic town.

Of course, by now we were hungry again so we bought a bag of chips to fortify us on our journey back home. All in all, a splendid day. So here for your delectation and delight are highlights of our day out (not including the shopping successes and the chips….)

Incidentally, I want to mention a competition I won over at Go Smell the Flowers a while back. Jim and Em regularly run competitions, the current one is to win some Belgian chocolates, by suggesting/inventing a new Olympic event. The prize I won was a year’s supply of flowers from Flora 2000. I have sent some as birthday and Mothers’ Day gifts and they have been absolutely beautiful causing much joy and earning me big Brownie points. I’m going to keep the rest for myself, I think. So thank you, Jim and Em, the prize is being much enjoyed.

And finally…a couple of things I found while Stumbling around. This must truly be the most disgusting snack ever invented. If you know of a worse one, I’d be intrigued to hear about it. Here it is.

A Krispy Kreme donut bacon cheeseburger. I can feel my arteries furring up just looking at the photograph. And next, today’s lesson.

Oops.

Anyways, amazingly the sun is shining so I am off into the garden to try and make a start on my tan before my upcoming holidays. Of which more next time…..

I just had to add this which I received from my friend in Los Angeles, Claire and then read about in the Sunday Times here. Watch the frogs which are quite clever and amusing and then keep watching. You will be astonished.

Keep off the grass

This is another of those plastic coated cotton fabrics. It’s really fun and waterproof and wipeable. Which I found to be quite useful when I spilled a glass of juice over my work area. Oops.

It’s all very odd. I was checking my stats and for the last couple of days I have had a huge spike in page views. Everyone seems to be reading a post I wrote in September last year called ‘Back to the Drawing Board‘ – 1107 page views yesterday. It was all about an album I made for my (then) boyfriend’s son and was also the post where I first tried out the woven binding – which I repeated using foam a few days ago. Very odd indeed! Today, there is another spike, this time for another post in September called ‘Double the Fun‘. I don’t quite know why these old posts are suddenly so popular but I’m not complaining!

I’m going to a dinner thing tonight. As usual, I have been trying every item of clothing on in my wardrobe looking for something suitable to wear. It’s black tie so I need something dressy. My only problem is that I have put some weight on since Christmas, which I have been trying half heartedly to lose. When you have no will power, it’s hard, believe me. I think I have found the solution though….

Now that’s my kind of diet. Maybe I should exercise more but then there’s always the danger of this…..

….instead of this.

Now that’s what I call exercising to music. Very cool tune isn’t it? Well, these guys think so…..

…and I don’t look a day over 199

I like this paper. Despite being a Japanese chiyogami paper, it’s a very tribal or ethnic design and according to the latest edition of the fashion magazine I subscribe to, that is one of the trends for the summer. We should all be wearing dresses made out of fabrics like this book. Well, all you ladies should – guys, it’s optional :-)

Guess what? This is my 200th post. 200! Whoever would have thought when I first started this blog 14 months ago that I would have so much to say? Certainly not me! I used to be incredibly shy and spent my teens hardly speaking to a soul. Things did improve as I got older, largely due to my (then) husband who made a point of making me speak up for myself at parties and the like. It was far too easy otherwise to let him do all the talking. At the time I thought he was being really cruel but with hindsight I see that it was just what I needed.

I remember the moment when I realised I wasn’t shy any more, vividly. I had enrolled on a course designed to get women who had taken time out to raise their families, back into the work place. We were asked to describe how we saw ourselves and how we saw everyone else on the course. Describing me, I came up with shy, lacking in confidence, quiet, reserved. All the other 20 or so people on the course said talkative, confident, friendly, outgoing. And in one of those Damascene moments, I realised I had been talking my socks off and joining in happily for the entire week! I do still find some occasions where I revert to crippling shyness and become awkward and tongue tied, but they are few and far between these days.

This was my anthem in those days – I give you Kajagoogoo – I had a huge crush on Limahl, my world fell apart when I discovered he was gay…..

Check out those hairstyles and fashions – hilarious!

Now to celebrate my 200th post, I thought I would say a little thank you to some of the regular visitors to Much of a Muchness who take the time to leave a comment. I always try to visit their blogs in return but sometimes I don’t manage it as often as I would like. So this is for you

Kim – wonderful artist and all round lovely person. She regularly updates the ‘101 Top Artists’ Blogs’ and is quite justifiably at number 1 in the rankings. (The fact I am number 3 has no influence on this list at all – honest) A labour of love if ever there was one. I won one of her portraits in one of her regular competitions, it is quite wonderful.

Paul – also known as Struggling Writer. Read his blog for snippets of his wonderful stories and news about his toddler daughter, ice hockey and his play off beard. Manages to be first to comment so many times it’s uncanny….

Creechman – what can I say? He loves actresses, TV, tennis, movies and his dog Emerson. He is a semi-rocket scientist from Houston. He seems to like English accents.

Teresa – sometimes her comments are funnier than my posts, but I forgive her :-) Her blog is full of news about yummy food, home schooling her lovely boys and birding amongst lots of other things.

Durano Lawayan – always has a pithy amusing comment to make. His blog is so full of wonderful, insightful posts about the world and all it’s many vagaries and absurdities which he brings to our attention with superlative skill.

RennyBA – everything I know about Norway I have learned from Renny! He is a ‘network evangelist’ and his mission is to introduce the food, customs and people of Norway to the rest of the world in a fascinating way. He succeeds admirably!

Diane CA – is Renny’s wife, her relatively new blog is full of insights into her interests in social work, her life as an American living in Norway and her views on the world around us. Her description of herself as ‘if I were any more of an extrovert I would turn inside out’ made me laugh!

Peteej – takes amazing photographs using his mobile phone camera and even is kind enough to give tutorials showing how he achieves such wonderful results. He also publishes photographs from other mobile phone photographers (ahem, mentioning no names but someone not too far from here was featured a while back…..)

Kylee – makes beautiful jewellery out of gemstones and polymer clay. She is an expat living in a beautiful part of France and I must warn her, one day I am going to arrive on the doorstep of her studio to see it properly! I have always vowed to visit Carcassonne and she lives quite close by…..

Astrid – is a German book artist who is talented and thoughtful enough to write her blog twice, once in German and then in English. I will confess to shamelessly stealing ideas from her and slavishly following her advice. A leading light over at the Book Arts Forum too.

Lord Likely – what can I say about Lord L that he hasn’t said himself? And in a much more – how can I put this? – outrageous, outré fashion than I could ever dare to….

Daddy Papersurfer – he thinks I’m scary. But perhaps not as much as his lovely wife, Lo the Terrible Goddess, who tries to keep him under control – with varying degrees of success it seems….

70’s teen – the diaries of a Manchester girl growing up in the 70’s. Strikes so many chords with me it’s scary. She is going to send me food parcels containing Northern delicacy, Hollands steak puddings – hurrah!

AmyH – I think Amy lives in a space -time continuum where she has 48 hours in each day – she has two small children and manages to make books, crochet, cook, read and do a million and one other things which totally puts me to shame….

Lady Banana– just loves to blog, in fact she thinks she may be addicted to it…. and I suffer from widget envy whenever I visit her blog. She loves photography and her life in London and it’s always fun to visit her wonderfully yellow blog.

Jenny – writes funny comments and has a blog to rival Lady B’s for widgets and an enthusiasm for life that leaves me breathless, Jenny’s blog contains the immortal truth ‘Drink coffee – do stupid things faster with more energy’ – that must be where I am going wrong. Memo to self – drink coffee!

And now to finish, a thought for the day.

Me? I’d be 21 again. But still with my lovely sons, (not sure how that would work as they are older than that!) but with the benefits of hindsight and experience…and better judgement as far as the opposite sex are concerned….. :-)


I’m so excited!!

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I am so excited by this book as it has set my imagination whirling…. Let me explain. This book is covered with a linen bookcloth which can be used in an inkjet printer. It comes in sheets which are roughly A4 size or roughly A3 size. The print on this book is a photograph I took in the summer of marguerites in my garden. It took me a while to get the printer set up to take these sheets. They are paper backed and as they are not quite a standard A3 size (they measure 11″ x 17″) they have to be treated as a custom size but once it’s set up, it’s easy. Half the problems came from the fact I was having to get used to my new Canon PIXMA Pro 9500 A3+ printer. This was my test print. I was quite prepared to bin this as I thought I would have to make some adjustments but it came out beautifully. It actually looks sort of faded – like an antique fabric which I really like. I am now trawling through my photographs for ones which will make good book covers and my mind is racing with thoughts of future photographic projects…..landscapes, flowers – people! The ultimate personalization!

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Well, here it is finally. The new hairdo! I have had about 6″ cut off my hair and it is now a bob rather than droopy spaniel ears :) To distract you from me, I am sitting in front of my fish clock, a ceramic Gothic-surreal-call it what you will masterpiece which is so fragile, that after three or four house moves, half the pointy bits are held on with superglue but I still like it! And it tells the time perfectly. News Flash! I just went downstairs to see who made this clock and picked it up – and one of the spirals on the top fell off and broke in half. Marvellous. Anyway, it is made by J. Callaghan in 1997 and that’s as much as I can tell you about it.

To continue my makeover I bought new glasses (or spectacles as my optician calls them) It’s really difficult to buy glasses. I still have this hang up about ‘Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses’ and I grew up watching those films where the hero, after unsuccessfully wooing the beautiful unattainable one, finally notices his secretary, the plain bespectacled heroine (usually played by a gorgeous actress wearing glasses with a frump hairdo) You’ve all seen the scene where he removes her glasses, lets her hair down and says wonderingly ‘Why, Miss Smith! You are beautiful!’ This is a trend I’ve also seen in present day teen flicks and soaps. Take one gorgeous actress, tie her hair up and make her wear horrid glasses. Ugly duckling becomes swan by styling her hair and wearing contacts. ‘Now, Voyager’, ‘She’s All That’, Ugly Betty anyone?

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So I eventually chose some groovy Prada specs which I hope send out the right message when I’m wearing them. I don’t have a photograph of me in specs so you will just have to imagine those. I do rather like them them though, they are dark green and very smart but I don’t want to have any ‘Miss Smith’ moments, I want to look fab all the time :-)