The regulars of The Grapes. Image via www.comedy.co.uk
I've been watching the box set of Early Doors again for the first time in ages. There are a gazillion beautiful one-liners I could quote you, but here's a gorgeous belly laugh courtesy of pub regulars Joan and Eddie:
Joan: "Did you hear about Giro Jim?"
Eddie: "Oooooooh, can I tell the story Joan?"
Joan: "He was in here on Saturday night, and he was feeling peckish, so he called the Peking Palace and ordered his chicken and eggy fried rice to be delivered to his house. He then walked round and went in and said 'Have you get a delivery for Giro Jim? Yes they said - Well, I'm Giro Jim... will you give me a lift?"
Eddie: "And ate his eggy fried rice on the way!!"
* SONG OF THE DAY: Lily Allen - Chinese *
Friend-of-a-friend, Paul Smith, has been living and working in China for several years and recently decided to move back to the UK. But he hasn't bought a plane ticket... he's cycling home!
One of the reasons he's doing this is to raise funds for Parkinson's UK, the charity leading research into finding a cure for Parkinson's, a progressive neurological condition which affects about 127,000 people in the UK, including Paul's dad.
Paul has cycled over 12,000km so far and has just arrived in Kiev, Ukraine, after travelling through China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia. He set off from SW China on 7 March and hopes to be home in SE England by the end of September.
You can follow Paul's adventures on two wheels via his blog, On The Road Again.
Please give what you can to Parkinsons UK, via Paul's JustGiving page.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Simon & Garfunkel - Homeward Bound *
Shade Aid are collecting sunglasses to distribute to people in developing countries. Sunglasses cost as much as a year’s salary for people in Africa. Next time you buy a new pair, why not donate an old pair for someone in need? For a list of collection points, and a postal address, visit the Shade Aid website.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Tracey Ullman - Sunglasses *
Sarah and Tim love travelling round Switzerland, so for Sarah's 30th birthday I thought I'd try and recreate a Swiss landscape for her in a diorama, with some Swiss-style road signs for her name and age. She loves it - hooray! (Or yodelay-hee-hoo!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Kate Bush - King of the Mountain *
'Stompy The Bear' is a joymaking collaboration between singer songwriter Caspar Babypants and knitting animator Charlotte Blacker (see my previous post about her short film 'Little Red Plane'.)
Thanks go to Charlotte's dad, Roy, for contacting me to tell me about it! (My dad is also called Roy... aww.) And now for some more bear-based fun with everyone's favourite quirky Quebecoises...
* SONG OF THE DAY: Tricot Machine - L'Ours *
These happy little girls in Malawi are showing off their new frocks. Each one was made, using a simple pattern, from a pillowcase! They were sewn by people in UK and Ireland taking part in the Dress A Girl Around The World project. Owning a new dress - the only one they may own - shows kids living in poverty in the developing world that they are special.
Dress A Girl Around The World is based in USA, but if you're in UK you can take part via the charity's UK International Partner, Louise Horler of Sew Scrumptious. In the first six months alone, Louise received and sent on over 1500 dresses made by British and Irish crafters! Some of them went to these little cuties in Goa, India.
Don't worry, the boys haven't been forgotten - you can also sew pairs of shorts for them! All details and patterns can be found on the Pillowcase Dresses section of Sew Scrumptious blog.
All images in this post are reproduced from the Sew Scumptious blog, by kind permission of Louise Horler.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Dolly Parton - Send Me The Pillow You Dream On *
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 *
Roxie (7): Where does the Queen live? I want to send her a letter.
Me (37): Well, if you put 'Buckingham Palace, London', I'm sure she'll get it. What do you want to ask her?
Roxie: I don't know. I just want to be on the news.
Cathy and Tim moved to their new home in Canada last October while Cathy was pregnant, and they now have a baby boy, Harry. I made this for him. Harry and his mum are travelling to England this weekend so I hope to meet him soon!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Deniece Williams - Let's Hear It For The Boy *
We went to Horsham just for an afternoon's shopping and, by happy coincidence, we'd chosen the day that more than a dozen different Morris sides were dancing all around the town centre, wearing fantastic costumes. I found a good spot and got snapping:
(Above) Dancers from the Knockhundred Shuttles, a Northwest Clog Morris side from Midhurst in Sussex.
(Above) The ladies of the Magog Morris side from Horsham, supported by their drummer and one of their junior members on tambourine.
(Above) Members of the Pentacle Drummers group from Eastbourne.
(Above) The Jackstraws, a women's Cotswold Morris side from Hale, near Farnham in Surrey.
(Above) Ewell St Mary's Morris Men from Ewell, Surrey.
Sticks, staffs and swords belonging to Horsham's Broadwood Morris Men.
All images in this post are (c) Kristen Bailey 2012
* SONG OF THE DAY: Leo Sayer - You Make Me Feel Like Dancing *
I saw this poor lost bear propped up by a tree on Southgate Avenue today. I do hope he was reunited with his owner by bedtime :(
* SONG OF THE DAY: Guillemots - Little Bear (Live at BBC Electric Prom) *
The snow came a week ago, and we've had no more, but very little has melted yet. I pulled on my new wellies (new to me - they're a 'hand-me-down' from a nine-year old who has grown out of them - I'm a UK 4 and she's now a 6!) and took my camera out for a slow shuffle.
First I looked for bird footprints in the snow. These are probably from crows - we have loads of them in Crawley and that's how it got its name (Crow Lea - the place of crows).
I think these are the webbed footprints of a seagull. We're 20 miles inland, but still have plenty of gulls. They fight with the crows for the contents of our rubbish bags on bin day.
This strange, beautiful print (below, above the human boot print) had me puzzled for a while, but I decided it must have been made by a magpie standing in the snow with its wings and tail feathers extended - there is a pair of magpies which live in this road.
...and loads of human beans too! I got a bit obsessed with the intricate patterns left by the soles of people's shoes:
* SONG OF THE DAY: Frances Nero – Footsteps Following Me *
I had to make something special for Rachel's 40th birthday, and once I'd remembered that her favourite film is Cabaret, and put a mood board together on Pinterest, I had the idea for this diorama, which puts Rae on stage at the Kit Kat club, complete with bowler hat.
It's cut from thin card and stitched with sequins, and folds flat for storage.
Design and images (c) Kristen Bailey 2012
* SONG OF THE DAY: Liza Minelli - Mein Herr (from 'Cabaret') *
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 *
The Little Red Plane is a gorgeous knitted animation by Charlotte Blacker, a stop motion/2D animator and compositor living both in London and Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
She graduated from The University of Central Lancashire in 2010 with a First in Animation and later went on to win a Royal Television Society Award for The Little Red Plane.
She's currently working on more film projects, hopefully involving knitting - so watch this space!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Suzy Bogguss & Tom Russell - Outbound Plane *
'The Martlets Tree' is a piece of public sculpture which stands in Queens Square in Crawley town centre. It's covered in metal cut-outs of birds (the mythical 'martlet') loosely held onto the branches so that they move and shimmer with the breeze. Last week I caught it looking at its best - in brilliant sunshine under a blue sky - casting wonderful shadows and bouncing bird-shaped light off the pavement in the shade.
All images (c) Kristen Bailey 2011
* SONG OF THE DAY: Elbow - The Birds *
These talented ladies are the 'Esmeraldas de San Francisco' (San Francisco Emeralds), a group of embroiderers from the State of México in Mexico. They applied to Kiva, the microfinance organisation, for a loan to enable them to buy more thread and fabric to help them expand their business, producing embroidered napkins and tablecloths.
I lent them $25 (about £16) and 104 other people made loans of varying amounts, which made up the total of $3,025. Just a few weeks later, the group have repaid 5% of their loan, and eventually I'll get my $25 back and will be able to loan it to someone else who needs to borrow it.
I don't have the spare funds to *donate* much money to charity, and Kiva allows me to do a little bit to help by lending the same $25 over and over - how fantastic.
* SONG OF THE DAY: The Feeling - Sewn *
A lovely charity shop find - this time in the Relate shop in Broadfield, Crawley - the December 1963 edition of Patons 'Stitchcraft' magazine for 10p! I going to buy it anyway so the pattern for a felt applique of Royal Pavilion in Brighton (my 'home' town) was a bonus!
I love seen the Pav rendered in stitches - most recently a knitted version by Peter from Temptation cafe in the North Laine. Well done sir!
* SONG OF THE DAY: The Lemonheads - Big Gay Heart *
This post is part of Magpie Monday - your chance to share your second-hand treasures.
I've posted before about the beautiful Cinderella doll my auntie Sue made me when I was a kid, and said I wanted to do the same for my friends' kids (honorary nieces). Well, I've done it! The pattern I used is from Jean Greenhowe's Christmas Special.
They took quite a while - not so much the knitting as the making-up - but at last they're finished and have gone off to live in Lewes with Roxanne (6) and Isabel (8). The girls loved their lookalike dolls, and made them a palace from dining chairs, then put them to bed under the wrapping paper they came in. Roxie even sidled up to me later with a winning smile and said, "You know, you could knit me a prince!" When her sister pointed out that my knitting bag didn't contain any 'hair' coloured yarn, she added, "It's OK, he can be bald!"
Images (c) Kristen Bailey 2011
* SONG OF THE DAY: Langhorne Slim - Cinderella *
"The idea is simple. If you have purchased something 2nd-hand, whether it be from a charity shop; car boot sale; eBay or whatever, then I'd love you to write a short post on your blog and link up."
So for my first MM post I'd thought I'd show you three gorgeous timepieces I've bought in charity shops. As you can see my taste includes tasteful Mid Century Modern and so-bad-it's-good kitsch!
The heart-shaped wall clock (with gold plastic peacock and fabric flowers!) was £2, as was the beige mantel clock, and I blew a whole £3 on the beautiful turquoise travel clock.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Irma Thomas - Time Is On My Side *
All images (c) Kristen Bailey 2011
Image via The Woolly Bus on Facebook
A Brighton bus stop has been given a woolly makeover to launch an appeal by a Hove yarn shop to raise money for The Martlets Hospice by covering an open-top double decker bus in knitting.
The lovely folk at Cocoon Knits in George Street are asking knitters to collect sponsors and knit a minimum of three 15cm x 15cm squares. To celebrate the end of the project the bus will be driven along Brighton seafront on the 20th August with contributors and guests aboard! The minimum sponsorship amount is £25 per entry but they're aiming to raise over £40,000 for the Martlets Hospice. More details at www.cocoonknits.co.uk. After the event all blankets will be broken down and sent to Africa with the help of Knit a Square charity to help keep AIDS orphans warm.
This diorama was based on three of my sister's favourite pop songs. 'Walk On' is by U2 - she has these words tattooed on her ankle! 'Learn To Fly' is by Foo Fighters and she loves the video especially (any excuse for Dave Grohl and chums to dress up!). And that little bird sitting on the fence is a reference to 'Blackbird', her favourite Beatles song.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Juliana Hatfield - My Sister *
Look what I made - it's a foldable pop-up diorama! I went to a workshop (in December - yes, am crap at getting posts finished!) at Hove Museum run by lovely local artist Lizzie Thomas, who is part of the Unravelled group of craft-based artists (also lovely - the ones I've met anyway!).
Lizzie showed us several samples she'd made using the same basic principles, and although they looked scarily complex, she explained everything so clearly we all came away after two hours with complete and fairly fancypants versions of our own! All just from some pieces of card and careful scalpel work.
Mine is a secret garden. (I must re-read 'The Secret Garden'...)
A great tip from Lizzie was to cut all or part of the back of the diorama away and cover the aperture with artists' tracing paper. Then you get a lovely effect with diffused light shining through. You even place in in front of a candle if you were VERY careful. Maybe one of those fake LED candles would be better!
Since I did this I've made a few more, mainly as birthday cards, so I'll post some photos of them shortly. This is a fascinating craft, I really want to explore it further!
* SONG OF THE DAY: Dawn Penn - The First Cut Is The Deepest *
I knitted this Jean Greenhowe 'Humpty Dumpty' for my dear friend Camel when we were 18 - in 1993! I knitted it to look like Camel, complete with Doc Marten boots and Leeds United colours. It was probably one of the first toys I ever knitted.
Humpty has lived with Camel ever since, but years of hot loving have taken their toll and recently she came back to me for a while to be given the '10 Years Younger' treatment. In this case, this meant removing all her stuffing...
...and giving her a nice hot bath in the washing machine. Then I shaved off any bobbles with a razor, restuffed her with loads and loads of new stuffing, and... put Humpty together again! Let's go to the reveal:
During a conversation about the miracle of birth with the offspring of Joe Mattinson and Rachel Smith, I mentioned that when I was born, the doctors had to cut into my mummy's tummy to take me out:
Isabel (8): 'That's disgusting!'
Roxanne (5): 'Is she dead then?'
* SONG OF THE DAY: Ohio Express - Yummy Yummy Yummy I've Got Love In My Tummy *
Storm in a Royal Delft Teacup, by John Lumbus (c) Laikingland
I would LOVE this teacup automata - turn the handle and and the golden boat rides the mechanical waves, while above the stormy clouds reveal a shining bolt of lightning.
It's by artist John Lumbus, who has worked with the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre in Covent Garden. Why don't you put the kettle on, wet the tea, and while it brews, watch this video of a earlier version in motion?
* SONG OF THE DAY: The Fortunes - Storm In A Teacup *
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!
Elderly lady behind counter in charity shop:
"And then she went in her bag and got out a... what are those things they eat in Devon?... a Cornish pasty!"
Cornish Pasty Recycled Felt Food Sculpture (c) British Cream Tea
When I was putting away some crockery earlier I noticed this sunrise logo (above) on the bottom of an old saucer, which made me smile. I have been desperate for the sun to arrive.
Blimey, this winter has been hard work. The months of perishing cold have forced me to stay indoors whenever possible cos of my dodgy immune system, and the extended solitude has played havoc with my mental health. Hours and hours of time to fill, and plenty of projects I could be working on, but I've been too depressed to do any of them (including blogging!). Yuk. So every time we've had a sunny day I've got all excited at the prospect of Spring, but it keeps showing its face then disappearing again in high winds and pouring rain!
BUT... I was out this afternoon and I saw my first cherry and apple blossom of the year! What a sight for sore eyes. And there are daffs everywhere, and daisies in the grass and forsythia flowering and buds popping on trees and shrubs. It's all much later than last year, but maybe even more appreciated!
* SONG OF THE DAY: The Beatles - Here Comes The Sun *
The Klencke Atlas, 1660 © 2010 The British Library Board.
A tasty Culture24 Picture Special: Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art at the British Library
Screen Search Fashionis an online resource which provides a guide to aspects of 1920s and 1930s fashion and dress as depicted in non-fiction film from the collections of Screen Archive South East(in collaboration with the Royal College of Art.
You can see what people wore on holiday, or at the summer fete or carnival. There's also a section dedicated to work clothes, including unforms. It's great to see original garments wore by ordinary people in real life - something even the best-researched costume drama can not do.
The clips are accompanied by photos of relevant items of clothing from local museums. It would be fantastic if, in turn, the clips could be screened within these museums' displays. I love looking at fashion collections in museums but nothing can compare to seeing how garments were worn, what they looked like in motion, and for which occasions they were worn.
It's a fascinating site to explore - I hope that over the next few years they're given the resources needed to extend the site to include film from the 1940s to the present day (so long as that doesn't include any of my family's 1970s home movies!).
My very dear friend Joe, who is like the big brother I never had, has reached 40! He is not very impressed by this. I wanted to make a special card for him, and it took a long time to come up with the idea, but I'm pleased with how it came out.