South Queensferry Morning Walks. Making New Routines.

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A little while ago, when the days were just starting to shorten , it occurred to me that trying to find a few new routines might not be a bad thing. I settled on a handful of ideas, some I have stuck with, some have fallen by the wayside. But one of the ones that I have kept up is to go for a very short walk first thing. Sometimes even before that all important first cup of tea ! But definitely before breakfast.

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I don’t walk very far and there are about three variations that I can make to the route. But even though short , it seems to be enough to blow the sleep away and get me going for the day. Not to mention that I get a little blast of daylight straight away.

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To add some purpose into it, I set myself the challenge of coming home with one photo every day too, one photo that I am happy with , that is ! And this also pushes me to look for new angles on what are now familiar vistas.

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Apparently arty folk are in particular need of routines and structures – do you have some that underpin your day ?

WoonBeurs , Amsterdam 2014

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A little bit of catching up around here is called for. As last year , I paid a visit to the Woonbeurs while I was in Amsterdam for Meet The Blogger. Last year we visited as part of the event , this year I just added it in myself. My favourite part is seeing the different “houses” that the Dutch interior magazines create. Some of them are quite fanciful and while interesting to see do not feel like environments that you would want to live in. Of the three main ones, the one I’d most like to spend time in is the Ariadne At Home house. They had a lot of beautifully styled little vignettes in each room with lovely colour combinations.

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My other favourite this time was a bit of a “hush hush” project done by VTWonen. They imagined how the young royal family might like to redecorate their palace. There were so many funny little Dutch details but also quite stylish reworkings of more traditional palace interiors.

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And a very cute nursery for the three princesses. They used quite a few of the very popular ceramic dolls by Lammer and Lammer . I’m sure this bedroom would go down very well with the three little girls.

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Uppercase Magazine

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Oh the excitment !

I've been a fan of Uppercase magazine for quite a long time. Yes, its expensive, whether you buy loose copies or subscribe direct, but it is beautifully curated and visually delicious – no matter what the theme. I used to buy the magazine by issue at a local bookshop, but what really helps the magazine to survive and thrive is the subscriber base. And so after I heard Janine Vangool, creator of the magazine, give a talk at Hello Etsy in the Netherlands I just had to subscribe.

If you'd like to hear her , then here is a link. (I couldn’t link directly to her speech – this takes you to the collection of various Etsy videos – you are looking for Hello Etsy 2012 )
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So fast forward another little while and I happened to spot that one of the requests for submissions was based on “What colour means to you” – in whichever way that could be interpreted. I couldn’t resist sending something in – and hurray – it was accepted. So if you have a copy of issue 22 see if you can find my little snippet.

To whet your appetite, or introduce you if you haven’t come across Uppercase before, here is a trailer for this issue. If you want to subscribe you can do so here and hopefully the little secret code “roygbiv” is still current and will give you a $15 discount.

 

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It was Blogtacular…..

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A few weeks ago I hopped down to London for a few days to go to the Blogtacular conference. It was very inspirational and I returned home full of new ideas. I’d also expected that it would have got me back into a blogging routine again, but strangely , that didn’t happen. I think it was because there was so much going on behind the scenes, a lot of online study and a lot of work on the house.

Some people manage to blog right through these things and document changes as they happen. I don’t seem to have the knack for that so much and take time to process and move through things before I am ready to write again.

I won’t do a full review of the conference, because , frankly, so much has already been written, so instead I’ll point you in the direction of the pinterest round up.

Shot from the Styling workshop with Ellie Tennant
Actually, the quality of the presentations did exceed my expectations and there were none that were not interesting in some way. A few favourites were hearing the “Mini Modern” guys talking about branding, Yvonne from Yvestown giving her take on blogging , Anne Ditmeyer from PretaVoyager talking about how she has created a business combining design and travel and Joy Cho from OhJoy talking about how blogging has shaped her own career. As this has included having her own product range and then moving into licensing it was particularly useful. I also really enjoyed Ellie Tennant’s talk on styling and picked up a few tips to try out on the next photo shoot.

If you are a teeny bit sad that you didn’t make it then there is the next best thing – a virtual conference. You can find the info on that here. I have also subscribed so that I can rewatch the talks – it is hard to take it all in at the time, even if you take notes. The two Kats who set up the conference are all set to do it again next year so put that in your diary too.

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Seaside Treasures

Sea Glass

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for sea glass , but used to hunt high and low and find very little. Now I find myself living near some spots where I can find it easily and it is very hard to resist. I especially like all the pale aqua shades and this time also found a few pieces of broken porcelain. I am sure this colour palette is going to show up in a design or painting sometime soon.

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The bridges have also been looking wonderful during the last few days – mostly lovely summer weather and some very low tides which make for interesting images.

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If you are visiting Edinburgh this summer South Queensferry makes a very pleasant wee jaunt out of the city, especially during the crazy festival period. You can even take a boat to Inchcolm island and have a go at spotting seals or even a puffin if you are lucky. Get yourself an Orkney Ice cream and stroll along the prom to the High Street.

Happy Birthday Dr Edwin Land

Maison Bleue, Edinburgh, SX70 Polaroid PaintingMaison Bleue, Edinburgh, SX70 Polaroid Painting

Maison Bleue, Edinburgh,
SX70 Polaroid Painting

(This image was taken soon after I started using this technnique.)

As I was about to sit down and write a post this morning I happened to glance through my emails first – and promptly abandoned my previous subject. Today is Dr Edwin Land’s birthday ( Thank you, Impossible folks, for the reminder.) He is the inventor behind all things Polaroid, but most importantly in my book, created the SX70 camera and the film it used.

If I were to compile a top ten list of people who have influenced my creative life then he would have to be on it. From the day I discovered what could be achieved with his materials I was hooked. The person I have to thank for this introduction is a Hungarian photographer, Turi Geza who was working in Edinburgh at the time. Around 2002 He had an exhibition of his photographs,referred to as from a Polaroid Land camera. At the time I had no idea what the “Land” referred to and was rather mystified. As soon as I got home I set about finding out what I needed to try my hand at the technique.

An SX70 camera and TimeZero film was the answer. Ebay came up with the former , and in those days the film was still readily available in high street camema shops. There followed a steep learning curve, with lots of images falling by the wayside – but soon there were more hits than misses.

Why was this combination of film and camera so special ? The camera itself was such a lovely object to work with , transforming itself with a slight tug from a rectangular block into a recognisable camera. The magic of the film was that for a short period – perhaps an hour or so – the film emulsion remained fluid and could be manipulated. So the resulting images were not from computer manipulation , but rather created on the actual image.

This is a little video I made a few years ago showing how it works.

From that time until the film went out of production (sob ) this was my principal medium. Of course I bought up as much of the film as I could ( and I still have a tiny bit left – but probably it will not function properly after all this time.) but I hit a huge block. What had previously been quite a carefree process became rather gloomy. In an effort to move past this obstacle I launched into my “12 City Project” which saw me travel to a different city every month for a year , using my remaining film. In the end it turned into a wonderful adventure. ( As I searched through my archive for a post that neatly summed up the whole idea behind this project, I realised I hadn’t written one – so keep a look out for that in the next few days if you’d like to know more.)

There are two consolations for me – one – I have a huge archive of images shot with the film and I continue to work with them to this day ( for example in my cushion collection) and secondly The Impossible Project have worked hard to create new films ( completely new formulations of film) so that those amazing SX70 cameras still have a future.

So Happy Birthday Dr Edwin Land and Thank You !

Other resources – The Impossible Project’s Blog today.

The image at the top of the post is of Maison Bleue restaurant on Edinburgh’s Victoria Street – highly recommended.

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In the Garden

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The garden has burst into life so I thought I’d do a little picture post while it is looking so full of colour. This is my favourite time, when the tulips are fully out. We had one set of bulbs come up all blotchy and horrible – apparently this is some kind of tulip blight and it means you have to carefully remove all traces and then not plant tulips in the same place for three years. It seems likely that the culprits were bulbs that had remained there from last year. Are you an expert on such matters ?

I spotted there was still quite a lot of rhubarb growing so will need to make something with that – too lovely to let it go to waste. Another part of the garden is already looking quite wild and overgrown. It needs some attention to stop it turning into a complete jungle! One minute it was all bare branches and suddenly it has all sprouted.

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The next things that are going to flower are the bluebells – another favourite even though, apparently some people feel you can have too much of them and pull them out. They are going to be in full bloom pretty soon . New arrivals in the garden are two little pots of yellow primrose that came from the island of Mull. I like plants that have some history to them before getting here. ( A lot of the bluebells came from a previous house and were carefully looked after in pots at my parent’s house for about 3 years until there was a new garden for them to go to ! )

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The other much antipated plant this spring has been the row of pots with white grape hyacinth. I love the blue ones, but last year as we were leaving Holland I spotted the white ones and was keen to try growing some this year. They are such dainty little flowers.

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The blossom tree at the top of the garden is doing a bit better than last year when storms blew the petals off very quickly. But at least once the blossom is past the clematis right next to it should be ready to flower.

As I work my way more and more into a world of pattern and textiles I spend a lot of time in the garden , checking on progress and taking photos or drawing things that will be popping up in work later on. It feels a little bit like coming full circle to my time as a textile designer years ago. But also that all kinds of different strands of past work is merging into something new. ( Too long to add that story to this post, so more of that another day.)

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