Email: busstopgirl (at) googlemail (dot) com
In the next of an ongoing series where I educate myself (a total townie) about wild stuff I spot on my walks round my suburban neighbourhood, we have this vibrant orange beauty.
It was growing on a grass verge by a busy road, in amongst buttercups and ox-eye daisies. I hadn't seen it before - it's tall, with a hairy stem, and has saw-tooth edged petals, rather like the 'lion's tooth' (dent-de-lion) on a dandelion.
A few minutes Googling revealed that it is Orange Hawkweed (Pilosella aurantiaca). Hawkweed gets its name from the belief that hawks would chew on the plant to improve their eyesight.
* SONG OF THE DAY: R.E.M. - Orange Crush *
Someone's spilled gold and pink glitter all over our road. I really like it!
* SONG OF THE DAY: The B-52s - Love Shack *
It was an unpleasantly windy day today, so my walk was fairly short, but just as I was heading home I spotted this amazing orangey-yellow jelly fungus - Dacrymyces palmatus - on a fallen branch lying on a grass verge.
Initially I got dead excited, cos the striking colour made my untrained eye think I'd found a slime mould (which I first heard of just a few days ago when I watched BBC Four's After Life: The Strange Science of Decay) but now I've correctly identified it (thanks to the fantastic Rogers Mushrooms website) I'm still pretty pleased with it!
* SONG OF THE DAY: The Flaming Lips - She Don't Use Jelly *
Just complete a simple registration, then upload your own image (I've used my 'Duck House' design here), and the site will reproduce it as a patchwork pattern in your choice of 5, 10 15 or 20 colours, either in basic squares (either 10x15 or 20x30) or in squares and triangles (24x36), in a downloadable PDF which includes your individual colour key and tips on how to create your quilt.
You could also use your pattern as a cross stitch chart. I might try making my pattern up as a paper collage using colour torn from magazines. Thank you V&A!
Johanna is a fashion knitwear designer from the Faroe Islands – a small group of islands in the North Atlantic Sea, famous for having twice as many sheep as people and a strong tradition for knitting. Her garments are made by women from the Faroes and the Ukraine, where knitting is also an important part of the heritage.
Just look at the unihibted use of colour and pattern - great styling on this shoot, too. It makes me want to go and raid my cupboards for an outfit full of clashing colours and textures - or maybe chop up three patterned jumpers from the charity shop to make myself a new sweater dress... mmmmmmm!!!
All images (c) Steinum.net
At last, I've stumbled across a high-quality DK yarn with comes in loads of bright colours! Normally if I want bright colours I have to use 100% acrylic yarns, which are nice and cheap - great for making toys but not nice enough to use for clothing.
Biggan yarns come in 64 (!) colours and are a machine-washable 100% merino wool which is soft enough to wear against the skin. Biggan Design was founded by Swedish designer Biggan Dups. It's based in Australia, but you can buy Biggan yarn in the UK via Woolaballoo, for about £5 per 50g. I am sooo tempted to order two dozen different colours and crochet myself a beautiful shawl!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Terry Hall & Damon Albarn - Chasing A Rainbow *
Slept most of the day as I'd been awake all night, but still managed to get outside for a walk as the sun went down. Beautiful, eh?
* SONG OF THE DAY: Belle & Sebastian - Another Sunny Day *
...and here by La Roux in her video for 'Bulletproof'.
It's such a great design idea you wonder why it hasn't already been done. I love that he's taken the theme onto the tights too (and taken care to position the white bands at flattering points).
I hadn't been a fan of Henry Holland's previous stuff (I'm sure he'd be gutted to hear that...), but I love this. So simple but so striking and colourful. Well done sir!
1 Sept 2009 - EDITED TO ADD: Look, you can get the tights for a tenner!
Boney M - Painter Man *
* SONG OF THE DAY:
Boney M - Painter Man *
White passionflower (c) Kristen Bailey 2009
Just down the road from me is a house which has a passionflower vine growing over its garden fence. Since spring I've been watching it develop with great anticipation - I love passionflowers, can't believe that something so exotic-looking grows in UK - and taking photos week by week.
Yesterday I was there again, taking a close-up of the fruit forming, when a lady came down the street and saw me as she went in through her gate. I explained, blushing, that I'd been keeping an eye on her passionflower vine, and she told me she also had a white passionflower and asked me if I'd like to see the rest of her garden!
There was so much going on I hardly knew where to look first! At the far end of the garden were several beehives - only one was being used but there were bees everywhere, getting on with the day's business. There was also a glass cloche (above) stacked with old honeycombs, to drain off the beeswax, which will be used to make candles!
To the righthand side of the garden were dozens of 7ft-high evening primrose plants which Jennifer said she'd left to do their own thing. She told me that she and her late husband used to make a 8pm date to come out to the garden and watch the flowers open.
Around the garden's edges were at least a dozen water butts and a few young trees. There was a pond with frogs in, and she showed me the two drains where toads live - sadly not at home at the time!
We went round the garden with me taking photos and asking the names of things I didn't know - she knew all the Latin names and had a story to tell about how she'd come by each plant. She tore a seed pod off an honesty plant and tore it open to show me its three layers, and how the inside had a glossy sheen - crushing it in her fist and brushing the dust away just as I opened my mouth to ask if I could keep it (I was too shy to ask for another)!
I can't remember the name of this elegant pink bloom but it stuck in my mind because Jennifer said it reminded her of her mother's dresses. It's so delicate and beautiful, I really love the ways the buds look like 'lucky' origami stars.
It was so lovely to be discover this half-wild garden in such a densely-populated area. Jennifer does a lot of work - there were potted seedlings stacked everywhere - but if something has thrived where it was planted (or has self-seeded) she likes to give it free rein.
She's told me to knock on the door anytime I'm passing and fancy another look - it will be wonderful to see how it changes through the coming seasons. And I only went out for a pint of milk!
All images in this post (c) Kristen Bailey 2009
* SONG OF THE DAY: Donovan - Jennifer Juniper *
I love machine dye! A box of dye, a bag of salt and no messing. Sometimes I use it to tart up faded old tops, or if I find something in a charity shop which fits well but is a boring colour.
The ones above were originally a grey t-shirt with pastel heart print, a white t-shirt with red floral print and a white shirt with a black print (the stitching stayed white so must have been polyester).
I used Dylon Machine in Flamingo Pink. All these items in this post went in together, but took up different levels of colour according to their fabric content (highest natural content gives deepest colour).
I had two identical white M&S bras, but one them went grey when I acccidently put it in the wash with my jeans, so as I was dyeing the other things pink anyway I thought I'd throw it in rather than binning it. I didn't expect it to take the dye as it's polyamide (manmade, I assume) but it came out pretty well - free new pink bra!
I got this old tray cloth and a lace-trimmed antimacassar from a charity shop...
...and they came out beautilfully! The tray cloth was linen and that really soaked up the colour. After I'd had them lying around for a couple of days I realised they reminded me of Pearl Lowe's lace curtains. I'm so pleased with them, I'm going to find some more and try them in different bright dyes.
Watching all the recent coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show made me really want to be there in person. But I have to be realistic - I couldn't cope with the journey to London and a whole day on my feet in a crowded showground (plus it's really expensive to get in!).
Then, as I was doing my regular tour of the streets in my neighbourhood, camera in hand to snap the latest blooms, it occurred to me that all around me are lovely gardens which I can look at for free, which are constantly changing. Now I'm in the habit of taking my camera with me everywhere I go, I'm looking at everything I see more closely, and starting to read up on what I photograph. I don't need to go to Chelsea.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Elvis Costello and The Attractions: I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea *
I managed to get this snap of two together, and am extra pleased that you can just see the curly tongue (proboscis) of the one on the left poking out (close-up view below). I was able to get really close without them flying off. They were all busily feeding - the way their tongues whipped in and out reminded me of a watch spring!
When I got home and went online to identify them - they were Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), which arrives in the UK from Africa every year! I visited Butterfly Conservation's Migrant Watch website to log my sighting. 2009 has seen a mass migration with millions of butterflies arriving over the May Bank Holiday. I felt very blessed to have seen so many on my doorstep.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Dolly Parton - Love Is Like A Butterfly *
Had been awake all night and the dawn was so lovely Ihought I'd go for a walk with my camera. From 7am to 8am on Friday 29th May 2009.
This stuff is everywhere, growing out of cracks in walls. The tiny mauve and yellow blooms are no bigger than a fingernail. As you can see from the pics below, it seems to need nothing more than a bit of grouting to fasten onto, and spreads across otherwise barren surfaces, making them beautiful!
I started my ill-informed Googling by trying 'minature pansy creeper' but got nowhere till I looked more closely at my photos and realised that its leaves looked a bit like ivy - indeed, ivy was often growing on the same surface. Bingo - it's Ivy-leaved Toadflax!
I has an appointment in Portslade last week, and afterwards I decided to do the Boundary Road charity shops. And look what I found in the first shop I went in - a beautiful little vintage travel clock, in my favourite shade of turquoise, for £3!
It's so pretty I think I'd have bought it even if it was broken but I wound it up and wandered round the shop for five minutes and when I came back it had kept good time, so it was definitely coming with me.
Usually I use my mobile phone as an alarm clock, but this is much nicer - waking me with a proper old-fashioned 'ting-aling-aling-aling-aling!' It sits next to the old Pifco lamp I bought in a charity shop about ten years ago, on my bedside table, which was also from a charity shop. Love it!
* SONG OF THE DAY: The Lemonheads - It's About Time *
I love Elle Decoration - I used to subscribe but in recent years haven't been able to justify the expense (ditto Selvedge - ah, me...) and only get my hands on a copy on rare occasions. (Last year the Blonde bought me a copy for Valentine's Day instead of chocolate!).
But the zingy colours on the cover of the January issue stopped me in my tracks in WHSmiths, and once I'd read the details of what was inside I couldn't NOT buy it - Matthew Williamson, Barbara Hulanicki AND John Galliano all in one issue? Get in!!!
Matthew Williamson's home is very me - I could totally be his flatmate. And his muse...
Hey, Matthew? How about it? I'll potter about the place while you're at work, keep it tidy, maybe go out and 'source' things for you - for the house, or as inspiration for your next collection? I could take a look at your designs if you like, give you my two penn'orth on your next collection? What? Well, OK, maybe not the couture, but the one for Debenhams? And I'm pretty handy with a needle and thread - gimme some fabric, a pile of beads and sequins, a pot of tea and the Torchwood box set, and you can just leave me to it. No, really, it would be no trouble - it would be my pleasure. What? Oh, OK then - I'll wait to hear back from you. Love what you've done with the place! Ciao!
Walking home from the supermarket on Tuesday, my spirits were lifted by all the different blossoms appearing on trees and bushes - I'm just an old romantic I guess!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Dolly Parton - Little Blossom *
This has to be one of my all-time favourite Etsy purchases - a hand-drawn, hand-pulled silkscreen of Queen Elizabeth the First in my favourite shade of shocking pink, by Alisha Gould from Maine, USA. It has pride of place in my living room. It's fab to see someone using bold colour on a historical subject!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Queen - Killer Queen *
I know - not very seasonal! But I put some Christmas garlands together today, as I was going through a whole crateful of old bead necklaces I've had for years. They're the cheapy kind where the beads are glued to the string. I collected dozens of them from charity shops a few years ago so I could make a bead curtain for my back door, by fastening them end-to-end in long strands.
Having moved house several times since and never having used it again, I decided to get them all out and sort them. I sifted out all the red, green, gold and white ones, fastened them together and put them in my Christmas decs box.
Then I pulled out all the ones in my favourite colours, which I might wear myself (below). There are some which are the same colour as others, but a different shape or length - I'll decide which work for me by trial and error! The rest - still a carrier bag full - will go back to the charity shops... unless I think of some other creative use (or mischief...) for them.
I was having a slow day, M.E.-wise, and couldn't have handled the evening service, but the late afternoon light was so lovely that I thought I'd take a short walk down to the sea, get some fresh air and stretch my legs before the sun went down.
I took my camera, 'just in case'... and I ended up taking individual pics of the whole row of beach huts on King's Esplanade. It took a while, but look how pretty! You can look through them one by one in my Flickr set.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Nick Drake - Man In A Shed *
|Images (c) Kristen Bailey 2009|
Yellow isn't a particularly favourite colour of mine, so I thought I'd see how much I could find in my flat. Unsurprisingly most of the yellow items are things I didn't buy for their looks (rubber gloves, duster, cornflakes box), apart from the glorious daffodils I bought myself this week!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Donovan - Mellow Yellow *
This shocking pink feather caught my eye as I dashed down North Street this afternoon. An escapee from a reveller's feather boa, it instantly took me back my cousin Lisa's hen night in 2003.
That night we giggled our way through Soho wearing shocking pink feather boas (with pastel pink for the bride), and in the morning I discovered my neck had been dyed bright pink!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Aerosmith - Pink *
Look what I didn't buy in Rymans! I was sorely tempted. I love stars, and here were two star-shaped stools in my favourite colours - turquoise and hot pink. But I can't justify buying them, so a photo will have to do!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Blur - Star Shaped *
This lovely sofa, entirely covered in candy-striped knitting, belongs to craft tutor and author Nicki Trench, whose home was featured in December's Good Homes magazine. Gorgeous eh? Must have involved some seriously dedicated needle-wielding...
* SONG OF THE DAY: James - Sit Down *
Finally I have something in
my Etsy shop my Folksy shop! It takes such a long time to make just a few things, then take good pics of them and get the listings done, it does feel like an achievement!
Here are some large, sparkly Valentine brooches. I'm single and I always send Valentines to my single friends, and these brooches were made with them in mind. Hope you like them!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Feargal Sharkey - A Good Heart *
Just before Christmas I came across a wonderful Etsy shop called Summersville, full of handprinted fabrics by Suffolk-based Lucie Summers. My favourite of her prints is called Avenue* - line drawings of houses and trees, available in three of my favourite colours - hot pink, teal and turquoise! So I ordered a piece in turquoise, and some Christmas tree stars she'd made from her Weave and Totem prints.
And what a beautiful parcel Lucie sent! I almost didn't want to unwrap it... but I'm glad I did:
Gorgeous, eh? Lucie also has an Etsy shop for her mixed media work - LuSummers, and you can read all about how her work is developed (and which bit of delicious vintage crockery she has found this week in the charity shop!) on her lovely blog.
* A name I also love cos it reminds me of how Margot in my fave 'The Good Life' says, "Not on The Avenue!" aghast, whenever Tom and Barbara get more livestock!
How cute is this?! Saw it on eBay and I couldn't resist. Am now on the lookout for the brown-haired Fisher Price woman in blue to go in the chair. It will sit on top of the telly to remind to get several long neglected half-done sewing projects out of the drawer and Get Them Finished!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Josh Pyke - Sew My Name *
Here, finally, is the special card/bookform I made my cousin for her 30th birthday. Yes, finished way behind schedule - she turned 30 in June - but leave me alone, I'm not well!
Lisa's my cousin, but she's also been a close friend. We were penpals from the ages of 12 and 10 - you know, back when folk used to write on paper, with a pen - and worked through a lot of teenage (and twenties!) angst together. Our correspondance went on for almost fifteen years, and is now meticulously archived in a series of shoeboxes kept on the tops of wardrobes in Galway City and Brighton.
Over the years she's acquired a husband, a house and a daughter, which I still can't quite get my head around... they grow up so fast, don't they? She's also a very busy wedding photographer, which I'm dead proud of.
These days we don't write letters to each other, just the occasional email or text. Sometimes one of us rings the other to note how crap we are at keeping in touch. But mainly we keep up with each other's news via my mum and her dad!
Dearest Lill, we are crap at keeping in touch...
Well, they've gone off in the post - only managed to contribute fifty hats towards the target of 400,000, but it was fun playing just a small part in it.
Look out for Innocent Smoothie bottles wearing hats in branches of Sainsburys from 7th November - and buy one, it's in aid of Age Concern!
I just love this handblown glass pendant lamp by Sheldon Cooney (designer Elaine Sheldon and glassmaker Dominic Cooney). What a great idea to use a bulldog clip like that!
I'd like one in turquoise of course - so it's a good job they don't come in turquoise, cos I don't have the spare £350. A thing of great beauty...
I am in the grip of a fresh infatuation... vinyl. No, not records... upholstery vinyl made into cool things like bags and purses. It's shiny, wipe-clean, hardwearing, doesn't fray and comes in loads of bright colours - even glittery colours - what's not to love?
Of course I haven't yet tried working with it myself. That's on the 'to do' list. But I've already bought three gorgeous things via Etsy... and have my eye on more.
Then I came across Miss Alison's Etsy shop, and her great 'bent stripe' pouches. Would she make me a bespoke in my favourite colours? Of course! So I'm the proud owner of a turquoise pouch with hot pink stripes (above). I've also got my eye on this Seagull Pouch from her website.
The starry pink beauty below is winging its way to me as I type. It's by Julie at Majesty Inc, and I love it. Great colour combination - and I love five-pointed stars as a motif.
Flicking through the channels this morning whilst munching my peanut butter on toast, I spotted this Calvin Harris video. I'd never heard of him before (although I remember a news story from last week about Kylie working with a little-known Scottish DJ) but the video had me rapt... and the song is fab too. More about that video here.
LARGE: This humungous knitted bunny was placed on a mountainside in the Italian Alps in 2005 and will stay there until 2025. Knitted in 'toilet paper pink' yarn over 5 years, it is the brainchild of art collective Gelitin. Its (knitted) heart, liver and intestines spill out of a wound in its side. It's even been visible on Google Maps. Take a look at the photos which visitors to the rabbit have already sent in... including one of the rabbit snowbound and one showing grass starting to grow on it.
The latest ad for Sony's Bravia telly is even better than the last one (the coloured balls bouncing down a street). It's a complete joy to watch - multicoloured paint explosions in and around a disused Glasgow tower block, accompanied by Rossini's The Thieving Magpie.
The Bravia Ads website has loads of fascinating info on how the ad was made, as does the website of Phoenix Fireworks, who provided the fireworks which blasted the paint sky high. There's also a lovely set of photos on Flickr of the ad being shot.
This bag is for my lovely colleague Anra, who I recently lent a book about Lucienne Day's textile designs. I'd bought this 1950s curtain fabric in a charity shop ages ago. I think the print must have been inspired by Day's designs - look at her Flotilla fabric.
I paired the vintage fabric with some lime green jumbo cord and lined the bag in a polycotton - white with red polka dots. It's got a phone pocket and white plastic hoop handles.
Centre for Advanced Textiles at the Glasgow School of Art: Classic Textiles to order - Lucienne Day
V&A Museum: Designing Britain 1945-1975 - Utility/Austerity Textile Design
Dioramarama: Fabric Friday: Lucienne Day
The Observer, April 15, 2001: Festival of Britain - Lucienne Day
This fab bag is in the collection of Brent Museum in London. You can search Brent Library, Museum & Archive Catalogues online.
I do love the Sheila's Wheels ads - an Aussie girl group in pink sequins driving a fab pink car and singing a catchy tune? What's not to love?
"For ladies who insure their cars
Sheila's Wheels are superstars
Women make the safest drivers
You could save a bunch of fivers
For bonzer car insurance deals
Girls get onto Sheila's Wheels
Girls are bored beyond indurance
Paying too much for car insurance
For bonzer car insurance deals
Girls get onto Sheila's Wheels"
Sure, it's been done by evil capitalists trying to flog car insurance, but I've never even had a driving lesson so am immune to their attempts to sell me their product. I just like the song, and the ad in the bar ("If your name was Florence, and you needed car insurance...") makes me laugh.
Minnie Lace-up (c) Schuh
I have new shoes - pumps, I suppose. I'd been looking for something to fill the gap between knee boots and sandals, and pretty as all those ballet flats are which are everywhere at the moment my feet are too narrow to keep them on. But these were in the sale AND in one of my favourite colours!
Handsworth 2000 Carnival Queen Costume - Boot © Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery
I love that part of my job involves spending time on museum websites - some of them have the most wonderful digitised collections online for you to browse through (and drool over). These amazing boots are from BMAGiC - Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery's online database:
"These boots are part of an entire carnival costume - skirt, top, shoulder 'pads' and headdress - made in Birmingham by a Caribbean designer called Professor Black.
Hundreds of years ago Catholics in Europe celebrated the start of Lent with a wild costume festival. The festival tradition was then taken to the European colonies where the slave trade was established. In the Carribean, ancient African traditions of parading and moving in circles through villages in costumes and masks were combined with vibrant African music and dance.
The result today is a rich expression of artistic achievements and lots of fun. Carnival in Handsworth started in 1984."
There's also a great collection of monochrome photos - self-portraits of residents of Handsworth taken in 1979. Fascinating to browse through - who are they, what are they wearing, what are they feeling, how have they chosen to pose, what do they look like nearly thirty years later?
Found this in a charity shop on London Road. I bought it partly because I love the pattern but mainly because it's the bedding my nanna had in her bedroom. She died twenty years ago, and seeing this again brought back loads of memories.
24th May 2009, edited to add:
In a batch of old magazines I picked up in a charity shop was a copy of Women's Weekly from September 1975, with this advert for Nanna's bedding!
Image (c) IPC Media 1975
(Clockwise from top left) Feast by Lucy Casson, photo: Mike Davidson; Slinky Tower by Jim Buckley, photo: Mike Davidson; Space Place by Ally Wallace; photo: Mike Davidson; Fun Fact / Lenticular Robot by Lucy Richards, photo: Andy McGregor
What a fantastic set of artworks these are - commissioned by PACE for the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital. They include work by Lucy Casson, who has created a group of picniking plaster figures who are perched on an external courtyard roof, and Michael Brennand-Wood, probably my favourite textile artist in the whole world:
"Within the A&E waiting area, Michael Brennand-Wood has produced 'Mr Sandman' - a kinetic floor to ceiling panel - incorporating nine portholes through which the viewer can see a variety of toys and medical items when revealed by sand which is rotated by machinery.
Michael has also produced 'Shakin All Over' - a collection of eight boxes located along a corridor, each containing a different collection of images, giving the sense of a strange museum. The collections reference the habitat of the north east of Scotland and include images of shells, fish, birds and fragments of maps."
Scottish Arts Council
The Saltire Society: Arts in Architecture Awards 2005
an: PACE Commissions - Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Aberdeen
Press Box: Can art help cure sick children? Lucy Richards and the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital art project
Public Art Online: Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital
Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli was an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art back in 2004. However, the museum's website still hosts a great online resource celebrating the work of the surrealist couturier. Most fun is the Kids Zone, where you can play in a dressing room full of Schiaparelli clothes and accessories.
Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site: Schiaparelli (great pictures)
The official Schiaparelli website
Fashion-Era: Elsa Schiaparelli
Wikipedia: Elsa Schiaparelli
Arts.Telegraph: Chic Value - Elsa Schiaparelli