Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Category Archives: Meme

Inspiration…and a little perspiration

I’m sorry, I’m sorry – been neglecting my blog, I know. My excuse is that I have been working on a very complicated web site (well, for me anyway) and after spending every waking moment toiling away at my computer, the last thing I felt like doing when I stopped to relax was blogging. Anyway, it’s all finished now , I even found time to make a book for a friend. I made her a web site a few months ago for her new bed and breakfast business, and she asked me if I would make her a visitors book for her guests to sign. Here it is.

duckhouseduckhouse_closedduckhouse_open1

I used an image I took of her house and printed it onto Belgian linen bookcloth. I made the striped back cover in Photoshop and it was tricky working out where to place the stripes and image so that they were in the right place when I bound the book. It worked even better than I hoped. I hope she likes it.

One of the things that tempted me back to my blog (apart from my friend Carol telling me how much she enjoyed reading it – all bloggers should have a friend like Carol!) was finding that the lovely writing gb had given me this award. The award was originated by Montessori Mama – isn’t it pretty? Very cheering on these cold winter days.

kreativeblogger

The rules are these:
– List six things that inspire my creativity
– Pass the award on to 6 more kreativ bloggers
– Link back to the person who gave you the award
– Link to the people you are passing it on to and leave them a comment to let them know.

Six things that inspire my creativity. Hmmm…

1 Reading. Once I am interested in something, I have to read as much as I can about it. The down side of this is my ever expanding library which threatens to take over my house. My latest inspiration is a book called ‘500 Handmade Books – Inspiring Interpretations of a Timeless Form‘ published by Lark Books.

2 Other bookbinders. One particular thing that has caught my fancy (which is in ‘500 Handmade Books’) is a wonderful ‘bustrophedon variation’ by Cathryn Miller, which is a sort of book which folds up into a small cube. I think it’s delicious and especially as I think this was created by the same Cathryn Miller who also comments here and is a member of the Book Arts Forum, a wonderfully inspiring place to visit.

3 Blogs. I was inspired to try bookbinding by reading the blog written by Dennis Yuen. He also has a beautiful book featured in  ‘500 Handmade Books’. His blog features lots of tutorials and images of the gorgeous work he does.

4 Curiosity. I see something, I have to try and work out how it was done and reproduce it. Expect to see a ‘bustrophedon variation’ attempt gracing (or otherwise) these pages sometime soon…

5 A slightly obsessive nature. I have been designing and writing this web site I have been working on for over a week. I sit down to work as soon as I get up and often find myself sitting working until late at night. I even dream about solutions to problems I am having. I realised on Monday, I had not been out of the house for a week, apart from taking Milo into the garden for a run around. (No wonder I am not having much luck meeting a new chap). I am also obsessive about finding lovely materials to work with, nice paper, leather, fabric and so on. Oh and kit. I love the tools and gadgets and equipment that go with bookbinding.

6  I love it when people appreciate something I have made. It gives me such satisfaction. When I was younger, I was always lacking in self confidence so when people praise my work it gives me such a buzz.

So there you have it.

I pass this on to  the following people who all create such wonderful things and who all seem to inhabit a parallel universe where days are 48 hours long. How else do you explain how much they achieve? Or is it that I am rubbish at time management….?

Teresa – home schooling , soap making, homesteading, cooking wonderful food, writing and so much more

Amy H – she knits, she makes books and brings up two small children – they are all gorgeous.

Kylee – making polymer clay jewellery, running language and jewellery making workshops, bringing up a baby, President of her local Arts and Culture Association….

Kim – the friendliest, most supportive blogger who encouraged me when I was first starting out and who is a wonderful artist. She also founded the  Top Artists Directory which must take so much time to keep updated and also writes the poetry blog PoeArtica

Astrid – a bookbinder from Germany who has never failed to inspire with the quality and the variety of the books she produces. Not to mention the quantity….

Claire – my friend in the real world, who has written a really funny book ‘Plus One: A Year in the Life of a Hollywood Nobody‘ and whose persistance and hard work in getting this book into print and then used as the inspiration for a movie ‘The Making of Plus One‘ is truly inspirational. She even appears in the movie – how cool is that?

Now to close, this is so creative it deserves a Kreativ award of its own. Great music and a superb video by Oren Lavie. Enjoy.

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The bear necessities

There is rather a sweet blog called ‘Dear Teddy‘ which I have seen mentioned in various places around the old interweb (Daddy Papersurfer, 70steen and Olga, the Traveling Bra – I would have thought another kind of teddy was more her style!).

It’s a blog, by for and about all those old stuffed animals and other beloved childhood toys which have a story to tell.”

Well, a few years ago, I was given a rather strange bear as a Christmas present. I hesitate to introduce him to the other bears over at ‘Dear Teddy’ as I’m not sure of the reception he would get from Grumpy Ted, Snowy Bear and Busy Bear. He is a rather groovy if dare I say, freakish bear designed by Phillipe Starke the famous French designer. Here is a photograph of him….

I’m not entirely sure that any story this little bear has to tell would be suitable for kiddie’s ears. Quite how the puppy, the lamb and the bunny ended up where they did is a story for Hallowe’en I’m sure and would probably be a cautionary tale for us all.

And talking of Hallowe’en, (bear with me- tenuous link following)   Kim over at Laketrees is running another of her wonderful competitions to win a portrait painted by her. The prize will be a portrait of a subject of your choosing, painted in oils/acrylics on a 90cm x 100cm canvas. All you have to do is post about the competition on your blog with a link back to Kim, subscribe to her feed by email and then comes the hard part – choose your subject (you? your son/daughter? partner? pet?) and in less than 250 words say why you have chosen your subject and why you should win! The competition closes on October 31st (Hallowe’en – now you get the link) at 12pm (not sure what time zone that is so get your entry in early to make sure you beat it – Kim lives in Australia!)

Kim also runs the ‘Top Artists Directory’ blog which is a fantastic resource to introduce you to the many talented artist who have blogs. I am in there but I actually feel a bit of a fraud, I’m not sure I’m really an artist as such – and I have been so slack at making books recently (too many holidays, I hear you cry!) but I will get back into it soon.

Milo continues to be a total time waster, the only time I get anything done is when he is like this

He is just so playful and cute, I find it hard to ignore him. He is off for his second jab tonight so he will be allowed out to play properly then and can mingle with other dogs. I shall take him over to see my friend who has two Cocker Spaniel puppies ( who are quite a bit older than Milo) and we shall see how he gets on with them. He should be OK as he came from a house with lots of other dogs. In fact, I’m amazed at how well he has adjusted to just being with me.

I gave him a bath a few days ago. What a sad little creature! There is not much dog under all that fur and he stood there, shivering with fear and looking very bedraggled, skinny and sorry for himself. Once dry and brushed, he looks more like a teddy than Edward Puppyhands does…

Another teddy who I am quite enamored of is this one – the iPulse Teddy Speaker

Your iPod sits in a pouch on his tummy, the controls are on his paws and coloured lights pulse in his feet in time to the music. That is one hi-tech teddy – a Christmas present for the baby that has everything – including an iPod full of nursery rhymes and lullabies….

Here’s a track that should be on there, this is the original version of ‘The Teddy Bears Picnic’ by Henry Hall and his Orchestra – way before my time, you understand, but this is the version I remember from my childhood. And what about that record player? I’d like to see iPulse Teddy get that in his pouch…..


Home again, home again, jiggety jig…

Well, I’m back and I seem to have brought back some sunshine – not as warm as California sunshine but very welcome nontheless. I managed to twist my knee playing tennis on the my last day so the 10 hour journey home in my cramped seat, followed by a 3 hour drive home to Dorset was really uncomfortable and painful. It was a price worth paying though for the wonderful time I spent in Venice, Los Angeles.

It’s hard to pick out a highlight as I have so many happy memories but certainly one great day was spent at the J.Paul Getty Museum where we went to see an exhibition by the Italian sculptor Bernini, but also saw an astonishing exhibition of photographs by a German photographer called August Sander, which I thought was truly magnificent. Here are some photographs which #1 son and I took of the museum and gardens.

I also made a pilgrimage with my very patient friend, Claire, to Paper Source and stocked up on very lovely paper so expect a new burst of bookbinding activity!

I went to a party at the home of the composer Michael Brook and his wife, Julie. Michael writes wonderful music , including the scores for the movies ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and ‘Into the Wild’. He showed me a beautiful book about the work of Pierre Legrain and Rose Adler whose Art Deco bookbindings are absolutely exquisite and very inspiring. I found the book on Amazon and have ordered it, I’ll show you some photographs of these fantastic leather bindings, when it arrives.

Claire and her husband, Colin and I went to a great restaurant in Culver City called ‘Vinoteque‘. We had a great meal which was also a tutored wine tasting, comparing Old World and New World wines. The food was tailored to match each wine and it was so interesting to see how the wines complemented and added to the wonderful food. The wine tasting was followed by the US equivalent of a ‘pub quiz’. Astonishingly, our team, ‘The True Brits’ came second and we won a $10 voucher towards a future visit!

Anyway, I’m back now and I’m trying hard to catch up on the blogging front. I’m starting to get round all the blogs I normally visit but it’s a slow process. What with dodgy knees, unpacking, laundry and jet lag, it’s all been a bit mad. I found today, I had been tagged by Kim over at Laketrees. Actually she was sent three tags by Mariuca@Mariuca’s Perfume Gallery but I’m actually only going to do one today. The easiest one (and I think the most fun one). It’s called the Handbag Tag, and in Kim’s words:

The Handbag Tag is from ECL and here are the rules.
Find a safe quiet place free of significant others, nosey meme makers, priests, nuns, all things religious and men in general. (If you’re a guy just reverse this process to male and tell us about your wallet, tool box, briefcase or metro sexual accessory.)
1. Dump the contents of your handbag in a pile.
2. Take a photo of your handbag and the contents.
3. Be brave and ‘splain to your fellow bloggers what lurks inside the handbag.
4. Tag others who might want to embarrass themselves.
5. Answer these questions:
Describe the contents of your handbag. See my list below.

Purse, iPhone, earphones in wallet, camera, spare battery and memory card and case, sunglasses, reading glasses and spare pair, car keys, my Moo card mini cards and wallet, tin of M&S mints, Japanese wallet full of photographs of my boys and my passport, 3 Moleskine notebooks, 7 pens – various colours, 2 pencils, (1 automatic, 1 with sharpener and eraser), Prada perfume, lip balm, travel tooth brush and paste, mosquito repellant, hairbrush, Glastonbury Festival wrist band, various hair ties and clips.

SO MUCH STUFF! My only excuse is that I haven’t had time to empty out the holiday stuff and I don’t normally carry a lot of those things around. No wonder that one of my shoulders is lower than the other :-)

What’s the most important thing in your handbag? My iPhone
What’s the most embarrassing thing in your handbag? Too many pens, pencils and note books! Too much everything!
What’s the smallest thing in your handbag? Hair tie
Is there anything illegal in your handbag? No, although I notice that the pharmacy no longer sells the brand of mossie repellant I like – I think it probably contains something illegal…

So there you have it, I’m going to tag all my commentators, male and female. Show us your handbags, purses, briefcases, wallets, holdalls whatever.

I dare you!

PS You may notice that the menu at the top of my blog is looking a bit untidy. I have expanded the tutorial page to include a gallery of all my books (130 in the slide show I’m afraid!) as I realised that readers who were coming to my blog following ‘bookbinding’ links were probably hard pressed to actually find any, so I decided to include the gallery. Now just need to sell some of the buggers!

Diane needs…

I found this meme at Kim’s @ Laketrees. She borrowed it from Sandee’s @ Comedy Plus who was tagged by Mimi of Mimi Writes for the The Needs Meme. Mimi was tagged by Shannon’s Moments of Introspection who was tagged by Dawn’s Daily Life ……
This one is pretty simple and looks pretty silly.
The rules: All you have to do is Google your first name with the word needs behind it and post the results.

It sounded fun so I decided to play along too. I googled ‘Diane’ follwed by ‘needs’ and these are 12 of the 14,700,000 results I got.

  1. Diane needs a pigfoot and a bottle of beer…
  2. Diane needs someone claiming to be a long lost relative….
  3. Diane needs to reconcile both sides of herself…
  4. Diane needs to wake up…
  5. Diane needs a loan from her father…
  6. Diane needs help!
  7. (what) Diane needs is a good affair…
  8. (what) Diane needs is only moist, well drained organic soil…
  9. Diane needs to be more sexy and more out there…
  10. Diane needs bossing…
  11. Diane needs to eat more…
  12. Diane needs is a f*%*&*g good shower.

Well, what can I say? Some are spookily truer than others – but I’m not telling you which ones!

I’m going to tag the following blogging friends to have a go – but only if you’d like to.

TeresaAmyJennySueColinKyleePaulwritinggbScratchbags70steenAstridDrowsey MonkeyFracasLady BananaPeteej and anyone else who thinks this might be a fun thing to do….help yourself.

Now guess what?

I made a book! The weather has been very iffy again so I took the opportunity to use some of the lovely paper I have hanging around. I think I am back in the groove…

Now I know I promised not to bang on about Italy again but that was before I decided to sort out a cupboard (looking for #1 son’s passport) and came across some old photographs from 1999.  In fact, the date stamped on these photographs is 09.09.99. and as we are approaching 08.08.08 and I have just paid the man who cuts my lawn £108 on 01.08.08  (I am coming over all numerological. Is there such a word?) Anyway, it also happens the photographs were of a magical trip to – you’ve guessed it – Italy! Portofino, Carrara and Siena, to be precise. So for what I promise will be the last time I mention Italy for AGES, here are some highlights of the trip.

First Portofino, a picture postcard perfect village in Liguria, on the Northern coast of Italy. My ex and I drove there for a wedding anniversary – 23rd I think…

The harbour at Portofino

Portofino

We left Portofino and drove to Carrara to meet up with a friend, Stephen Cox, who is a sculptor. He wanted to show us the marble quarry where he buys the marble for some of his work. It was one of the most memorable days of my life – for all sorts of reasons.

All images here on in can be enlarged by clicking on them

You can see Carrara as you drive along the motorway that follows the coast in Northern Italy. The mountains behind the town look as if they are snow covered but in fact, it is the white marble that the area is famous for, gradually being revealed by the quarrying which has been going on since Roman times. In fact, the Pantheon and Trajan’s column, in Rome are made of it. This is my favourite photograph of the Pantheon.

The interior of the Pantheon

When we reached Carrara, we drove to the place where Stephen buys his marble from. It’s a huge yard with an enormous machine like a band saw which saws the huge marble chunks into appropriate sizes.

The owner of the place then drove us in a Land Rover into the mountains to see where the marble originated. We drove up to the edge of town and then suddenly started to drive up a rough, gravelly track, barely wider than the Land Rover. This is the road we were driving up.

The road up the mountain

Whenever, we got to the end of a section, we had to do a three point turn to get round the corner. The back of the car was hanging over a precipice as we got higher and higher. If you enlarge this photograph, you can see cars parked at the bottom – see how tiny they are! After a terrifying journey, we arrived at the quarry and we were astonished to see the scale of the operation up there. HUGE earthmovers and dumper trucks (which had obviously done the same journey at some point – in fact the trucks do it several times a day – loaded with giant blocks of marble) were cutting away at the mountain face, carving enormous cubes of the stone.

Here are some shots of the process.

After we left Carrara, we drove to Siena, where Stephen had an exhibition in the square in front of the Duomo (cathedral) called ‘Interior Spaces’. He had placed 4 huge hollow marble boxes which resembled sarcophagi in the piazza. It was wonderful to see people interacting with them – peering through openings, looking at the light shining through them or even just using them as somewhere to sit and enjoy the sunshine.

We spent a few days in Siena which, as I have already mentioned in my previous post, is a beautiful city. It is famous for a horse race held there twice a year called the ‘Palio‘. It is hotly contested by 10 of the 17 ‘contradas‘ or districts of Siena. Each contrada is named after an animal or a symbol and has it’s own flag, colours, uniform and traditions. The race dates dates back to medieval times and during the year each contrada parades in the streets playing music and waving their flags to drum up support. I saw the ‘Aquila’ (Eagle) contrada parading through the streets.

Contrada flags

Here is a video I found on YouTube of a Palio race. It is my ambition to see one but perhaps not in the middle of this crowd – on one of the balconies overlooking the Campo would be my choice!

This has been rather a long post but I had to get it all in – promise I shall move on from Italy now.

At least for a time anyway…..arrivederci!

Fore!

I’ve been tagged by Dunn over at Simply Dunn. The picture above gives you a clue to the theme of the tag (or the theme of the meme, I suppose) Can you guess what it is yet? (My best Rolf Harris impression).

It’s ‘Four’. I have to answer each of the following questions with four answers. So here we go.

Four jobs I have had

  1. Manageress of a fashion ’boutique’
  2. Civil servant
  3. Maths teacher
  4. Worked in an art gallery

Four movies I could watch over and over

  1. Singin’ in the Rain
  2. Cinema Paradiso
  3. You’ve Got Mail
  4. Amelie

And here’s a clip from one of these, Cinema Paradiso – Italy, cute children, dishy Italian men, gorgeous scenery, it has it all.

Four TV shows I love

  1. Heroes
  2. Doctor Who
  3. Torchwood
  4. Francesco da Mosto in anything

And for those of you who don’t know about this last one here is a clip from his new TV series. It has everything, Venice, dishy Italian men, gorgeous boats what more could you want?

Four places I’ve vacationed

  1. Thailand
  2. Barbados
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Italy

Hmmm, I see a theme emerging….

Four of my favourite dishes

  1. Pad thai
  2. Liver and bacon, mashed potatoes and onion gravy
  3. Lobster tails with lime butter
  4. Anything Italian

Oh dear, here we go again…

Four blogs I visit every day

  1. Fuel my Blog
  2. Daddy Papersurfer
  3. Diary of a 70’s teen
  4. The Struggling Writer

No Italian blogs I notice…I must remedy that :-)

The last time I was in Italy was with my good friends Claire and Julia, we did a wonderful tour, starting in Rome moving on to Siena, Florence and ending in Venice. It was a fantastic road trip, although I am very grateful that I was the navigator/tour guide and didn’t have to do any of the driving (which was hairy to say the least!) The soundtrack of our trip was Julia’s own song from her album ‘Concrete Love’.

https://dianea.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/02-italy.mp3

This is us in St Peter’s Square in Rome after watching Pope John Paul II give his weekly audience to the huge crowd. We could really only saw the Pope on a large TV screen as the crowds were pretty large, but we did get chatting to a very friendly chap called Brother Clay – a priest/monk (can’t remember quite what he was) from the USA. One of the things the Pope does at these weekly audiences is bless newly married couples. They put on their wedding togs and line up to be blessed. I took this photograph after the ceremony, I have always loved it.

Here are some more images of my favourite country.

Now four people I am passing this on to

  1. Astrid
  2. Teresa
  3. Kylee
  4. Jenny

Before I go, I just wanted to show you this photgraph. I was sitting in my garden, enjoying the sunshine, when a movement in the trees caught my eye and I saw a bizarre sight. I rushed to get my camera and took this.

Can you see it? The world’s first flying tractor!