Five on a Friday – Autumn and Winter Joys

portobello

I am not keen on winter. Or rather , I used to not be keen on winter. I don’t want to throw a whole chunk of the year into the bin anymore though. So I am determined to really like winter !  For the last few years I have deliberately peppered the winter months with different ways of getting through the darkest days.

Strangely enough, I  like to kickstart winter by going along to the Edinburgh Samhuinn festivities. Even though it is “pretend celtic” I like the symbolism of the green man of spring  being defeated and replaced by the old woman of winter. It is a real spectacle with ranks of different costumed characters, drumming, music and dancing , lanterns and a magical atmosphere.

Hot chocolate. Truly one of the best things about winter.  I don’t have a current favourite for this in Edinburgh – so will need to do some research. If I was in Paris I would probably still head for Angelina and in Venice, though expensive , the lovely Florian Cafe. Yes, I would happily eat dry bread and water for the rest of the day to have the best hot chocolate.

Celtic Connections in Glasgow. Clearly set up by people with the same mindset. January in Scotland needs something cheerful. And that is exactly what we get. Special bonus for people of my own musical persuasion this year ( Balkan/Gypsy/Jazz/Fusion – esque) The Gypys Kings and Queens are performing !

Hibernation – We have got so far away from the natural cycles of things. We push and propel our dreams and plans forward all year round. We never pause for breath. I am giving myself a present this year – of allowing the winter to be a time for ideas to germinate and start to grow , even if it is under the surface and the results won’t start to emerge until spring.

Beach walks. Lovely as they are in summer there is something especially cheering about bundling up in warm woollies and going for a walk along the beach. The nearest one for me is Portobello – with a little video of it for you here.

How do you make autumn or winter more cheerful ?

( * You can sign up for my “soon-to-launch” Ezine from the link on the right or from here – and receive two downloadable postcards* )

12 City Project – Sibiu

sibiu2

Rather than working through each city one at a time I’ve been dipping in and out of different cities and processing whichever image appeals to me that day. Some images take  a lot longer to colour correct than others. I’m still waging the battle against “creeping green” and now and again also against phantom dots. ( I’ve said it before, but I’ll say  it again, if you’re working in Artistic TZ film scan as soon as possible).

This image was shot in Sibiu from inside a watch tower – great views in all four directions and not too steep a climb.

( * You can sign up for my “soon-to-launch” Ezine from the link on the right or from here – and receive two downloadable postcards* )

Flickr Favourites – Mist

mist2

1. Now that’s what I call mist, 2. Dawn Mists, 3. Willow Lake Mist, 4. Through the mist—Looking into the Santa Rosa Ranges

Misty morning inspired today’s Flickr Favourites for me – clicking on any of the links above will take you to the original photograph.  Make your own here  and play along and add your mosaic at Artmind’s blog.

( * You can sign up for my “soon-to-launch” Ezine from the link on the right or from here – and receive two downloadable postcards* )

Five on a Friday – Crafty Resources.

Orange

My new favourites ( only discovered in the last few months – how did I miss them before ?) are the Craftcast  Podcasts by Alison Lee. They are absolutely excellent ! About an hour long , with reviews of new craft books and interesting items and then one main interview. The choice of guests really reflects all kinds of interests right across the craft spectrum . In a fit of catching up I downloaded all of them and have been listening to them as I travelled on my last trip, and now as I walk around town. Recent ones that I’ve listened to have covered polymer clay art, gold jewellery techniques, polaroid transfers and embroidery. A terrific resource for learning about new techniques or just to hear about another creative life. I learn so much from these ,even if it is not a discipline that is immediately relevant to what I do myself.

One of the artists featured is the collage artist Claudine Hellmuth – on her blog she regularly does little technique tutorials.

A great blog that covers all kinds of Polymer clay techniques is www.polymerclaydaily.com . I’ve only dabbled in this in the past, making loads of buttons but I have a few plans to have another go.

 I can’t really list five crafty resources without including Kaffe Fassett  again. He is giving a couple of lectures and workshops at a few locations in the USA from now until the end of October.

And another new favourite is Sherri Haab - I bought one of her recent books on precious metal clay and other mixed media. It also looks a really interesting medium and I am keen to have a go with it sometime.

If you have some favourite craft sites I’d love to hear – in the comments or on your own blog.

12 City Project – Paris

Paris

Another quick photo post today – of one of the images in my “12 City” Calendar.  Tomorrow’s Five on a Friday will be a collection of resources for crafty folk. Come back and have a look.

( * You can sign up for my “soon-to-launch” Ezine from the link on the right or from here – and receive two downloadable postcards* )

Flickr Favourites – Green

Green

1. Green Drip 5, 2. green sea of chairs, 3. bamboo green, 4. Let’s Get Green! Please take a moment to read…

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys

Tuesday is “Flickr Favourites” on Artmind’s blog. Use the mosaic tool and play along too. This week, as everything in nature goes further and further into orangey shades I feel drawn to as much greenery as I can find.

( * You can sign up for my “soon-to-launch” Ezine from the link on the right or from here – and receive two downloadable postcards* )

Five on a Friday – Favourite Travel books…

Florence

This image is of Florence, part of the “12 City Project” – and one of the pictures in the City Calendar.

( * You  can sign up for my “soon-to-launch” Ezine from the link on the right or from here – and receive two downloadable postcards* )

After a year of hopping off somewhere every month I am quite enjoying the more relaxed pace of this autumn. And if I feel a bit restless I can always escape somewhere with a book.  I have LOTS of  favourites  – but here are five of them. Some are more factual and others are novels. I’d love to hear five favourites from you too – in the comments or on your own blog. I’d be particularly interested in any suggestions connected with any of “my” 12 cities ( Florence, Prague, Gothenburg, St Andrews, Venice, Paris, London, Amsterdam,Istanbul, Budapest,Sibiu and Tallinn).

1. Between the Woods and the Water - Patrick Leigh Fermor. This is actually the second book covering his epic journey ,in the 1930s, from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul. It covers the Hungarian and Romanian section stopping at the Bulgarian border. He has never published a book on the final section , I live in hope.

2. Miss Garnet’s Angel   by Salley Vickers – Set in Venice , this book is utterly charming. I read it years ago, and was delighted , while I was visiting Venice, to turn a corner and unexpectedly  realise I was standing in front of the church featured strongly in the book.

3 Ali and Nino  by Kurban Said- This book is not set in a location I am familiar with, but it was an instant favourite. Taking place mostly  in Baku  in the period around the Russian Revolution , this novel is  about a relationship between a Georgian Christian girl and a Muslim Azerbaijani boy. Wonderful insight into a completely different world.

4. Istanbul – Memories of a City  - by Orhan Pamuk. I was reading this book while I completed the Istanbul section of my “12 City Project” and loved it. Definitely recommend it if you are visiting this city. but an interesting read in any case, with wonderful old photos.

5. Land of Green Plums - by Herta Muller.   Like the narrator, she grew up in the German minority in Romania, under communism. A very poetic book although  dealing with a difficult subject.

 And at this point I’ve just had an interesting little moment of synchronicity. I was deliberating whether to include this book as my fifth choice – although it is probably not widely known outside the German speaking world. I did a little google search, as you do, just to see if I could find some background information to link to, and lo and behold , she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature yesterday.  Good article in the Guardian about her .

 

 

2010 Calendars

12 city calendar

2010 sounds like such a far away date -  I can’t believe we are in the last quarter of 2009 already. However, I am quite prepared, with both calendars finished and in my Etsy shop. One is a collection of my “Polaroid Paintings” and the other features one image each from the 12 Cities. Since I am also working on a bigger project with these city images it has been nice to have a finished item using them.  I will be doing something to mark the calendar launch over the weekend – but don’t worry, if you purchase one before then – I will still include you in it too.

Polaroid Calendar

Flickr Favourites – October

October

1. arterial, 2. Dogwood Bokeh, 3. Autumn Light, 4. ..”October is a symphony of permanence and change”..

( * You  can sign up for my “soon-to-launch” Ezine from the link on the right or from here – and receive two downloadable postcards* )

A quick “Flickr Favourites” before I get on with the task of finishing off my calendars and photographing them.  This time I searched Flickr with the word “October”. If you want to join in you can use the mosaic tool and post your result over at Artmind’s blog.