Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Tag Archives: Design

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…..


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Christmas wishes…

My lovely blogging friend, Kiwipulse, sent me this video in her comment yesterday. I enjoyed it so much I thought it deserved a wider circulation, so I am posting it here. Kiwipulse’s blog is always full of amazing things, it must take so much work to find all the weird and wonderful things she writes about. In fact, she wrote my first ever review and featured a lot of my books when I was first starting out (you can read that here).

As for the video, well this is just what it is like at my house when I am making a book……..not! I love the way she just gets on with it and produces what looks like it is going to be a gorgeous book – what a shame we don’t get to see the finished book properly, that spine looks interesting.

Both my boys are home now and we are expecting a guest for a few days over Christmas, so I have had to switch into mummy-mode. Today, we are decorating our tree (yes, I know I’m late but I haven’t been in the mood ….) and I’m not sure I will be able to make many books for a while. I shall still write here when I can and I’m sure I won’t be able to resist getting back to the books but it will be sporadic at best! I am going to make an new photograph album for our guest as part of his Christmas present, mainly as we couldn’t think what else to buy him (we all know men are notoriously difficult to buy gifts for) so I shall try to post that when it is finished.
Here is a little Christmas greeting to you all from me. Have a very jolly Christmas and the very, very best of New Years.

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I must also draw your attention to this wonderful article By Mark Bittman in the New York Times, ‘101 Simple Appetizers in 20 minutes or less‘.

Yummy, quick, delicious, easy…. the man is a genius.

The Italian Job

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This paper is an Italian design – a traditional pattern called a Florentine pattern (although the inner paper has a design of ‘Fleur du Lys’ which are French). Whenever I have visited Italy, (which is often, as it is my favourite country in the world) I have visited a chain of shops called ‘Il Papiro‘. They sell the most marvellous marbled paper made using traditional Tuscan methods, Murano glass pens, inks, notebooks, decorative papers, sealing wax, leather goods, stationery and cards. The shops themselves are small, dark old fashioned places but full to bursting with gorgeousness. There are branches all over Italy – in Florence, Rome, Venice, Siena, Orvieto, Pisa and I notice from their web site they now have branches in the USA and Australia!

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Over the years, I have spent many happy times in these treasure troves and this is a photograph of the goodies I have bought. You will notice that they are all mostly in pristine condition. I can’t bear to use them so they sit in my workroom amongst my other treasures – I did try to use the seal and sealing wax once but it was very messy so the experiment was not repeated.

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And to finish, I have modestly left this to last ;-) I was contacted by Justin at Pushapixel (a lovely blog which highlights artists’ web sites from around the world) and he told me that he has featured me! He has written a very kind review so I suggest you all dash over there immediately to check his blog out (well, when you have finished here!)

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The Book Mountain

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I bought this paper a while ago and I’m not sure if it is meant to be a ‘seasonal’ paper but I think it looks like Santa’s hat so it can be classed as another Christmas book :)

Paul over at ‘Struggling Writer‘ was wondering yesterday where I stored my books. Well, that got me thinking and I got them all out, mainly to count them but also to tidy up the plastic storage boxes I keep them in. Here is a photograph of the books – all 77 of them – and the room I work in. I checked back and I have been making books since July 2007 – less than 6 months, so I was pleasantly surprised at how many there were, especially as I have sold quite a few and given others away as gifts!

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The trees outside this conservatory are lime trees so I decided to call my business Limetree Studio. During the summer, on one of the few sunny days, I took a photograph of the tree and designed a banner for the web site I am building and I have just used the same image for some mini cards from my old friends at ‘Moo.com‘. They have just arrived and are really nice. I also bought a very sweet turquoise leather holder to keep them in when I am out and about, it is really cute.

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I’m off to the hairdressers shortly. I keep trying to pluck up courage to have my hair cut shorter and into a different style but I chicken out whenever I get there and end up having the same old trim. I’m going to another Christmas party tonight, so it’s probably not the best time to be too adventurous anyway, so I shall come back looking exactly the same – just a bit neater and minus quite a few pounds – unfortunately not of the weight variety :)

Procrastination blues…

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This one was made using another of the ready made book blocks – in this case an photograph album block, which I bought from Paper Source when I was in LA. The pages are cream, interleaved with glasseine sheets. It looks very professional but it does mean I can’t easily use a contrasting inner cover as the ready made albums come with a plain cream inner cover. It did solve one problem though, I have had this paper for ages and have never been able to find a contrasting paper to go with it, so by using it for this album – problem solved.

I’ve just been writing Christmas cards – such a chore. I know I should just get on with it but I am taking a break to make a book because I am bored. What a lightweight. I shall get back to it while the glue dries….unless I can find something else to do – like tidying the documents folder on my laptop, it’s amazing what is stashed away in there. Photographs, videos, jokes – stuff!

I think I might post some of the things I have found in there. Here is a little video I was sent a while ago. Those of you with children will enjoy – those of you without children will count your blessings – you could have one like Magnus….