Posted in Living

Make Tea Not War & Other Stories

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I recently started up a new Instagram account to list all my extra supplies, books, vintage stash and seconds on, don’t you know. You’ll find that account here – I’m @thebellwetherer. My main @tinyotterpaws account is still the place to go for dog photos, pictures of my dinner and day-to-day behind the Bellwether scenes snaps.

19859528316_19a1935911_bAlso on my de-stash Insta is a collection of vintage Japanese pennants I’ve been hoarding. My office needs organising, so they’ve gotta go! Have a rummage through!

Posted in Living

Furnished Part Deux

Thanks for all the emails, texts, messages and comments about my furniture! I’m pleased to say I’ve found homes for everything now. I’ve got a few more things I’ve unearthed though, so same drill – if you like the look of anything here, drop me an email to mrspiquante@gmail.com and make me an offer. I’m keen to clear the space, so no reasonable offer will go unconsidered!

Retro Glass Jugs

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I bought these from a charity shop years ago, and have used them as vases – I’d be happy with someone just collecting these, to be honest, so if you’re nearby and can pick ’em up, let me know!

Nest Of G-Plan Tables

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These have seen better days, but a bit of TLC would bring them back to life. Got these on eBay a few years ago, but they don’t really go with the new house style, so another casualty! They’re authentic G-Plan, and the main table is about a metre wide, with the two smaller ones tucking underneath – ideal for the weekend takeway in front of the telly, um, or so I’m told!

Fire Screen

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I bought this eons ago fully intending to replace the tapestry in it with something cooler, but I then started using it as a fire screen and it grew on me. Now I don’t have a fire though, it’s a little superfluous!

I am sure I’ll unearth more stuff, but for now, if anything appeals, let me know!

Posted in Living

Furnished

So, we have moved, mostly. We are doing it somewhat gradually, with a lot of stuff here, but not in place yet, as it transpires that some of my lovely vintage finds are just not going to fit into our new space, either lookswise or spacewise. To that end, I posted a few photos of some furniture I’m looking to offload on social media earlier today and got quite a vehement response!

I know I am pretty much renowned for giving stuff away, but as I need to buy replacement furniture, these guys will have to be sold. I don’t really know what to charge for them, so I thought, as people are so keen on them, I’d let them make an offer. Is that you? Just email me at mrspiquante@gmail.com, I’ll collate all the offers and then contact the lucky winner. Think of it as eBay but without any of the faffing or stress. Please use the bold title in the email subject line.

Vintage wooden wall-hanging hall stand. This was actually a gift years ago from a friend’s mum and I really am swithering over whether to rehome it as I do love it. But it’s just not got a place in our new home. It’s about 2.5 foot tall and has a wee ledge at the top, the original mirror and there is a flip-top drawer at the bottom. It’s great for keeping your keys safe and lived by our front door for years.
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Mid-century modern sideboard – this is by Beautility.It’s in pretty good condition except that one of the handles came off – it has been glued back on. The right-hand door is a little less secure than the left, but both open and close properly. This is a real wrench to let go of, but it’s just too big for my living room. It’s about 8ft long, so is quite a big piece!

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Vintage corduroy covered chair – I bought this from an antiques shop years ago intending to recover it – I never did, natch. It’s pretty comfy, needs a little TLC but is in fairly good nick.

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Wee wooden cabinet – check those pigeon holes! I again bought this years ago and it has served me well as a medicine/bathroom cabinet for ages. It just doesn’t go in my house now. It’s about 2ft tall maybe – medicine cabinet sized! Has wee holes at back for wall-mounting.

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If you’re into instagram, I’m also looking to sell a bunch of vintage tins, urns and some stationery – my username is @tinyotterpaws. Look me up!

All of these furniture items would need to be collected from me in Bishopton or we could arrange a hook up (or you could send a courier).

Let me know if you have any questions about anything! Back to unpacking now.

Posted in Giving

Loosely Christmas Themed Giveaway

Are you all giveawayed out yet? I hope not, there is still more to come…

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This time, the little bundle comprises a small selection of loosely Christmas themed decorative items, including one of my very own puddings.

To win this bundle, simply follow me on Instagram (@tinyotterpaws) and leave a comment with your username.

Leave your comment by 12 noon on Thursday 4th December and remember to check back to see if you’ve won!

Still hanging in there? There’s one more to come! Stay tuned!

 

Posted in Giving

A Nice Cup Of Tea Giveaway

 

 

 

I don’t even drink tea or coffee, but I sure cross stitch a lot about it. But I realise I am in a minority there. Most people I know love a good cup of char, as they insist on saying.

This giveaway has a little theme of tea time, very loosely. In reality, it is a wee collection of things I have gathered that I really love but would like someone else to enjoy, rather than remaining in a drawer in my office, waiting for daylight. I just can’t keep all the nice things and not do anything with them.

  • IMG_2543A Nice Cup Of Tea book
  • Nikki McWilliams foiled print
  • Washi tape
  • Letterpress coasters
  • Thai ceramic birds
  • Jonathan Adler notebook
  • Vintage Czech matchbox notecards

A nice wee selection, eh?

Leave your comment by 12 noon on Thursday 4th December and remember to check back to see if you’ve won!

There is still more giving away to come. I know, I am a very benevolent ruler.

 

Posted in Thrifted

Grand Troyes Hotel And Other Exotic Locations

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Coincidentally, after recently seeing Grand Budapest Hotel on my annual trip to the cinema, I rediscovered this small collection of vintage luggage labels I’ve amassed. I’m not sure what I had planned on doing with them – they were just too pretty to leave behind!

I’m selling them now as they deserve to be put to use, or at least admired by other people, out of the drawer in my studio. They mostly look to be gummed paper, I’ve shown the backs of them, too. The wear is minimal on them and they all come in individual pouches.

They are priced at £3 each including UK first class postage and you can pay by PayPal – just drop me a line at hello@thebellwether.co.uk to request the ones you like!

1. Le Puy

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2. Hotel Persborg

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3. Hotel Prinsen

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4. Central Hotel

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5. Hotel Bristol

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6. Caledonian Hotel

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7. Hotel Bellevue

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8. Hotel Da Baleeira

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9. Grand Hotel

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10. Hotel D’Italie

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Posted in That's Nice

Things I Got For Christmas Vol 1

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My mum bought me this tin for Christmas. I was pretty pleased. I like old tins and own far too many of them that I always think I will use for storing stuff in, but then realise there is a finite number of things I own smaller than the tins themselves, so I stack them up, put them in boxes, shuffle them around and never really settle on a plan for them. Nevertheless, I still enjoy looking at them.

This one came filled to the brim with sherbet lemons, one of the premier boiled sweets. As I typed that, I remembered about them, and popped one in the old cake hole. Delish.

We live near a really cool big antiques sales room type place which is where she found this. We’ve been here 3 months, and we’ve already acquired from there:

  • Multiple plant pots
  • Dining table and 6 chairs (also a Christmas gift from my mum – I’m easily pleased)
  • Two wooden boxes
  • Old apple crate
  • Victorian music cabinet
  • Turn of the century religious cross stitch sampler (also a Christmas gift, from Lee)
  • Several things that were gifts for other people (that might not have them yet, so no spoilers)

In short, it’s my new favourite place.

Posted in Making

Crafty Blog Sale

If moving house teaches you one thing, it’s that you have too much stuff. It’s only when you have to carry all your belongings, every last one, into a new house that you realise you need to thin it out. Starting with some of the extraneous stuff in my studio/office, I’m clearing out some stuff. I started over on Instagram the other day and some of it’s already gone, but here’s what’s left. Instructions at the end for how to purchase! Please spread the word.

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SOLD! 1. Big reel of vintage style “admit one” cinema tickets in mint green. I brought these back from USA a few years ago and never did anything with them. £10 for the lot including UK P&P. I’d rather not split these into smaller lots.

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SOLD! 2. 2 x 9cm diameter wooden cross stitch blanks. These are priced at £5 each, including UK P&P.

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3. Wee sampler that I never did anything with – £6 inc UK P&P.

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SOLD! 4. 15ft roll of cupcake ribbon, approx 1cm wide. £2 inc UK P&P.

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5. This is two seperate lots – both are ecru/grey evenweave linen aida type fabric borders – one is 7cm wide and the bigger is 16cm wide. Both are approximately 1m long. £5 for the bigger and £3.50 for the smaller, both including UK P&P. (Specify which width you’d like). £8 for both.

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SOLD! 6. Wee pair of folding mini scissors in a plastic case – £2 inc UK P&P.

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7. Glue sticks – wrong size for my glue gun – new and unused. £2.50 including UKP&P.

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8. Set of 10 Hello, my name is… stickers in red and white – £1.50 including UK P&P (I have more than one of these).

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SOLD! 9. 1 pink 3″ flexihoop and 1 white flexihoop – both for £4 including UK P&P.

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10. iSlice paper cutter – £2.25 including UK P&P. Unwrapped and new.

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11. Set of 2 mini cross stitch aida keychains – £3.50 including UK P&P.

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12. Approx 1m squared of sock monkey cotton fabric from reprodepot, few years back – £5 including UK P&P.

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SOLD! 13. Pack of double-ended cross stitch and tapestry needles. I have opened the pack – couldn’t get to grips with them, personally. £1.50 including UK P&P.

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14. 7.75cm x 5.75cm portrait wooden cross stitch blank with jump ring. £8 including UK P&P.

ricrac15. Sticky ric-rac strips approx 30cm long – £1.75 including UK P&P.

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SOLD! 16. Set of 8 round plastic canvas blanks, approximately 4 inches in diameter – £2 including UK P&P.

skeins17. Set of 36 skeins of craft thread for making friendship bracelets, macrame, crochet, embroidery. £2.50 including UK P&P.

squarepcSOLD! 18. Set of 8 square plastic canvas blanks – approximately 4inches square – £2 including UK P&P.

stampSOLD! 19. Small “meet me at…” clock rubber stamp. Please excuse my hideous thumb in this photo. £2 including UK P&P.

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20. 5m of red and white baker twine/butcher string/whatever you call it. £2 including UK P&P. Longer lengths are available, let me know.

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21. Vintage style tape measures – I have 2 blue and 2 yellow. £1.50 each including UK P&P, or if you want all 4, you can have them for £4 including UK P&P.

totes22. 3 cotton tote bags – 2 black, 1 cream. I am not sure where these came from, but perfect for embroidering on. A bit crumpled. £5 including UK P&P for all 3.

widewood23. 7.75cm x 5.75cm horizontal wooden cross stitch blank with jump ring. £8 including UK P&P.

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24. Matroyshka deco tape £2.50 including UK P&P.

How To Purchase

Send an email to hello@thebellwether.co.uk stating the item number(s) you wish to purchase.

Once you receive confirmation from me that you can have it (to make sure of no duplicate sales!), send funds to same email address via Paypal.

Items will be dispatched by Second Class Royal Mail post shortly afterwards. Proof of posting will be retained. In the event of any missing items, I will provide you with the proof of postage for you to make a claim directly.

Contact me with any questions at the same email address.

Have at it! I’ll likely add more things at a later date. Spread the word far and wide.

Posted in Coveted

Going Green

I don’t really have a great deal to say about today’s Blog Every Day In May topic. I’m not really into green issues and whilst I do try and do my bit with recycling, etc, it’s not high on my personal agenda. So I thought I’d write about something else green instead – my favourite colour! Here’s some of my favourite Pinterest pins on the theme of green.

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>> 1. Pinned by Surya >> 2.  Castles Crowns & Cottages >> 3. She Inside >>4. She Inside >>5. Dualit >>6. Wicker Paradise >>7. Ssense >>8. Crate & Barrell >> 9. Smeg >> 10. Melanie Alexandra/Etsy <<

I want that Smeg fridge really hard. And those Chloe shoes.

I’m blogging every day in May as part of BEDM. Find out more here.

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Posted in Living

Collecting

I don’t really collect things as such, more gather. I do have a penchant for vintage tins though – I suppose that maybe counts as a collection. I don’t like just any old tins – sometimes people “donate” tins to me and I know they mean well, but really I am only interested in old, interesting tins which don’t have too much damage and can still actually be used, rather than any old common or garden biscuit tin.

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Hmm, OK. That’s a collection. That’s not even half of it. I usually pick them up in junk shops or charity shops, occasionally at a car boot sale if I go, which happens rarely. I should go to more, really.

Here’s my favourite tin, which I picked up on a market stall in York a few years ago:

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It’s a little bit dented but still useable. And pricey at £3! But I love the colour and that it had obviously been well-used but taken care of.

I do occasionally like new tins, if they are interesting and will probably turn out to be collectable in the future. For example, a whole bunch of 2012 Diamond Jubilee ones, like this:

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Love the illustration. It is from M&S, of course, who are really the kings of the new tin, in my eyes.

Oh, just remembered I do have a small collection of something else – Russian papier mache! I have a few urns and a couple of brooches but for some reason, don’t seem to have many photos of them. Here’s one in my living room. I got a bunch of them over time from a woman at a car boot sale who used to live in East Germany in the 70/ 80s and bought them from Russian soldiers.

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What do you collect?

I’m blogging every day in May as part of BEDM. Find out more here.

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Posted in Living

2012 – A Retrospective

I didn’t think I had much to say about 2012, but looking back at the photos I took, I have about 40 pages worth on Flickr. Most of them seem to be of the scenery around our home, so I suppose you could say 2012 was the year of dog walking.

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In January, my main recollection is that I worked from home a lot. My boss had been worried that the weather would stop me getting in to work, but as it turned out, it was fine. It did allow me to spend time with the dog, settling him in, as he had only come to us just before Christmas, so I spent most of my days walking in the woods with him and puzzling over who was going to subtitle what news bulletins from the comfort of my own desk.

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Oh, also in January, I bought this amazing sideboard for £8. Yeah,  you know you’re jealous.

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In February, I fulfilled a wish I’d had for a few years – to cruise the North Sea to Amsterdam for the weekend. It was both awesome fun and hellish – the boat was full of drunk Geordies and it was -5, but we had a really great weekend – it’s what you make of it, in these circumstances and we crammed in as much as we could on our 7 hours in Amsterdam!

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I bought a huge armful of tulips which lasted for weeks when we got back and on the way back we stopped off at Tynemouth market where I found lots of treasure. I love that place.

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Other highlights – a trip to the theatre to see a workmate in Thoroughly Modern Millie (which was thoroughly entertaining), reverse parking in a multi-storey car park and a new phone!

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Is it sad that a highlight of March was putting up our new doorbell? If it is, I don’t want to be cool. It’s pretty awesome. After a very low-key birthday, we went to Hammerfest in Wales, thus proving I am the best wife ever. It was pretty awful, accommodation-wise, but I did end up enjoying the music way more than I thought.

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It was also unseasonably warm in March, for Scotland, so much so that I got sunburnt on a walk on the beach with Sarah and the dogs. We had a great day paddling, eating chips on the seafront and generally frolicking on the sand. I also went on a Loch Lomond cruise with Marceline around her birthday, which was really good fun.

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Oh, and we celebrated my dad’s 60th birthday at the very end of March, too with a family meal at the Boathouse. Everyone got well-oiled, we ate like kings and then my mum did a dance to Shalimar when we got home. AWESOME.

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April is probably when panic began to set in about doing Pulse. A lot of it was spent making plans and preparing kits and so on. I also did a really shitty craft fair over Easter.  I wrote about that and generated debate amongst my indie craft compadres. I worked a lot at subtitling HQ. I remember being very tired in April.

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The weather in May was pretty good as I remember – so hot we had to buy the dog a paddling pool, which he loved. Work-wise, I was up to my eyeballs in Pulse-prep and day-job stuff. I did find the time to do a sponsored 10k walk with Jo though, through the streets of Glasgow at midnight, which was pretty fun. We raised about £500 for charity, too.

June was mega-busy. It started with Pulse. I took a giant suitcase down to London for the week and set up my wares for perusal by the great and the good of British retail. My mum came up from Suffolk to help me set up and I had my first taste of Wahaca.

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I haven’t publicly admitted this yet, but Pulse turned out to be the biggest waste of money ever. I daresay I will come back and explore this topic next year but enough time has passed now for me to be able to evaluate and say it was an utter drain on all of my resources and very nearly ruined me financially. It was the beginning of a lot of soul-searching for me, business-wise.

I don’t seem to have any photos of it online, but immediately upon my return, ie, the very next day, Lee and I jetted off to Lanzarote for a week in the sun. It was very relaxing – we pretty much lay down in the sun for the entire time and read, swam and ate delicious food. Bliss.

The day we got back, I pretty much got changed and went straight to Portsoy with Marceline for a weekend at her mum’s, where we stayed upstairs from their antiques shop and had some boat festival fun and visited the Baxters soup place. I can only surmise I left my camera at home, as I don’t seem to have photos of any of this, bar this one from Baxters!

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In July, the weather was pretty good again, and we spent a lot of evenings outdoors, barbecueing. I don’t recall a great deal other than chargrilled meats and my parents getting tipsy when they came to visit (STANDARD).

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The garden was very green and Lee spent a lot of time out there. My brother came to stay and we went on a road trip to our home town, Kilwinning. We took Max to the beach, too, at Irvine. Just as well we did, because shortly afterwards, Max injured his leg and we thought for a long time he’d need a hip replacement operation. He was on sedatives for a long time and spent a lot of time being miserable, poor chap.

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August saw my mum staying with us for a while, during which time we celebrated her birthday and ate a lot of vegetables that Lee grew in the garden. Those carrots are amazing, we’re still eating them now. The weather gave us some good days to spend outside, and I did a lot of sewing for some wholesale orders (that weren’t Pulse-related). My little blue car also gave up the ghost and I got some new wheels!

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In September, Max got the all-clear from the specialist vets and came off the sedatives, hurrah! He gradually got back to normal. He’ll probably always be on low-dose painkillers, but he’s much better now. PHEW. I also helped with the decorations at Jo’s mum’s wedding and had a lovely time at the reception with Jo and Ryan and their families at Hamilton Racecourse (glossing over the fact I left the lights on in my car and had to call the AA…).

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September also saw me packing up my monster suitcase again and heading back to London for Renegade. It was a really great weekend with my stallmates Kim and Adam from Finest Imaginary. We ate like kings all weekend, including at Meat Market. Gosh, I’m drooling now thinking of it. I stayed next to St Pauls and got the sleeper back, which wasn’t as awesome as I thought it would be. Then I went to work. Zzzz.

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We also went on a road trip to buy a dining table in Middlesbrough – I wish I could explain why. It’s a nice table though, eh? We stopped at Tynemouth market on the way back and Lee had his first Krispy Kreme experience – it was worth the  400 mile round trip!

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October seems like 5 minutes ago! I sold my little blue car which had been sat in the garage since I got my new one. It was sad to see it go. I spent a week in London at work on a course, staying in the Premier Inn and being so incredibly tired that I saw no one and did nothing except eat Thai food with my colleague and sleep (not with my colleague). Whilst I was away, Lee painted a wall in our living room and improved the room by about 5000%. I also had a commissioned design published in Cross Stitcher magazine, which was pretty cool – another ambition crossed off the list. The uncertainty about our future at Brownton began when we discovered the owner of the house we rent hadn’t been paying their mortgage. That’s still ongoing. Guh.

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Also in October – more dog walks. Max was getting back up to full walk-strength again, so we were revisiting our old haunts. Marceline and I had a fancy dinner at Chao Phraya. Lee and I bought two science cabinets on ebay and ended up selling one as they were massive. I also squeezed in a couple of days in Durham with my mum where we mostly ate cake and shopped.

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In November, I worked a lot. I had a fairly quiet one business-wise, never reaching the fevered panic that usually greets me in November. I did a lot of thinking. I went to the theatre twice – once to see the Hairy Bikers with Lee and again about a week later to see The Ladykillers with Sarah. Both were fun evenings. I also did one of the best craft fairs ever in Castle Douglas.

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December saw another long-held ambition crossed off the list – visit the Britannia Panopticon. We saw a colleague in a Christmas music hall show there, it was pretty awesome. I’d love to go back for a proper tour. It also snowed a lot. I LOVE snow, so I was pretty thrilled. I worked from home for a week as the snow gave way to ice which pretty left me stranded up Brownton Mountain. On at least one day, we couldn’t leave the house as our driveway was like an ice rink and poor Max kept falling over.

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Christmas arrived, and was a lot of fun. Mum, Jo and I went to see the Nutcracker which was interesting – I am not sure how I feel about ballet, really, but this was a bit more experimental than I expected. Fun night though, as we had dinner with Marceline beforehand, too. Our house got a Christmas facelift with a massive tree, a ton of presents and our Christmas village. We go a bit overboard, it’s true.

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Somehow, I managed to get 5 days off work for Christmas, so once my orders were out the way, I could really relax. And what better way to relax on Christmas Eve than to make 3 stockings from scratch? They turned out well, though, I think (if you ignore the fact I forgot to hem one).

We ate masses of amazing food, including the best turkey I’ve ever tasted. It was worth the upgrade at the butcher, for sure. The best thing about having a big Christmas dinner is the leftovers in an omelette the next day – sprouts and all. It was amazing.  Aside from eating, we did a lot of relaxing, as Max is demonstrating, above.

And now, it’s almost 2013 and I am back at work, at the day job, at least. I am extending my Miso Funky break until next week. I’ll be ringing in the new year at work, with my colleagues, which I don’t mind too much – I am not a big new year’s fan, but I do relish the idea of being able to start a new year with a clean slate and all the opportunities that may come my way. We’re already planning holidays and making plans, so I am sure there is some excitement in store.

Whatever you’re doing, have a good one and have a healthy and happy 2013.

Posted in Good Reads

Scotland’s Industrial Souvenir

I saw this mentioned on the BBC website earlier and was rather fascinated. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (who knew) has discovered and published online a really cool trade catalogue from 1905.  Here are a few of my favourite pages.

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“We are specialists in steam oven building of all kinds, for all purpose and all positions.” They don’t make advertising slogans like that any more.

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Herring salesman – what a thing to have on your CV.

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This makes Coatbridge look almost glamorous. “A dainty bite, fit for a king” – again with the herrings.

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North Shields – Aberdeen – Cape Town. Glamour.

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The Midlothian Oatmeal Mills sound like an exciting place to work.

glue“The celebrated makers of Scotch glue and gelatine”

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An up-to-date cableway – fancy that!

All images taken from the RCAHMS website, here. I really love this sort of ephemera. I find it quite inspirational. I’d love to translate one of these into cross stitch but it would take a zillion years.

 

Posted in Random Utterings

Doris & Co – Redux

 

Remember back in October when I was talking about Doris & Co? They very kindly got in touch as I’d had trouble with their newsletter. Not only have they sorted it out so I only receive it once now, but they sent me a super cute little gift to say sorry – so nice of them!

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I am now the lucky owner of a Doris & Co espresso mug, complete with vintage style Santa! I’m not a coffee drinker, but it does make the perfect home for the tiny poinsettia I found the other day:

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So, yay for great customer service from a great British company – I strongly urge you to check them out if you still have Christmas gifts to buy (after you’ve been to Miso Funky, of course!).

Posted in Random Utterings

Here’s The Science Bit

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Behold, my latest eBay find – vintage school science cabinets!

Lovely as they are, they have been a valuable exercise in measuring correctly – they’re bloody massive. Even for our big empty space, it’s a bit OTT. I suppose it’s apt that we learn this lesson from some school cabinets.

So, we’re going to sell one of them on, as they’re too nice to keep in a garage. Now to decide where it’s final resting place is – the jury is still out.