Saturday, 16 August 2014

Baked Brioche Doughnuts with Homemade Raspberry Jam


Baked brioche doughnuts, filled with homemade raspberry jam...

A treat after a long, hard week for all in the house.

And though they were a two day make and a bit messy when coating them in sugar, they were remarkably easy to make thanks to the recipe I found from Simmer Seasonal Recipes.

Plus they look proper! They actually look like doughnuts! But they're not heavy or fried.

Batch two of raspberry jam to make tomorrow, which is something I really enjoy making. There's something really quiet satisfying about making a vat of jam in my mums giant jam pan. Plus the smell is somewhat wonderful.

God I'm such an old lady. Making jam in my spare time. No wonder my life's the way it is.


Link | Brioche, part 1: Basic Recipe by Simmer Seasonal Recipes
Link | Brioche, part 2: Baked Brioche Donuts filled with Spiced Plum Jam by Simmer Season Recipes

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Listening: We Can't Stop - Bradlee Scott & Postmodern Jukebox

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Mork on Loneliness



"Orson: The report, Mork.
Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.
Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?
Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn't help very much because then he can hear paint dry.
Orson: Does bed rest help?
Mork: No because I've heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.
Orson: Do you have any idea why?
Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they're told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they're told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they're very old, they're told not to talk to themselves, who's left?
Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?
Mork: No sir I'm saying just the opposite. They make themeslves lonely, they're so busy looking out for number one that there's not enough room for two.
Orson: It's too bad everybody down there can't get together and find a cure.
Mork: Here's the paradox sir because if they did get together, they wouldn't need one. Isn't that zen like?"

 - In Mork We Trust.

Link | Mork and Mindy Episode 21, Series 1, In Mork We Trust (Full Episode)
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Listening: Bangarang - Skrillex

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Singing Pistols



A wonderful little bit of historical design for you here. A matching pair of singing bird pistols attributed to the Geneva based workshop, Frères Rochat. The Brothers Rochat (Jacques, David and Henri) where the songs of master watchmaker David Rochat, they produced high-quality automaton singing bird music boxes during the eighteenth and nineteenth century, made up of thousands of tiny components, each working together to to beautifully animate a feather clad bird which sings its own song.

The Rochat's were masters of their craft, the first to create the movement that not only allowed the bird to sing and rotate, but to have its head, body, wings and beak move as it rotated on its base. And though the know-hot to make such movements had been lost two hundred years ago, it has been revived in 2010 by Stéphane Velan, who took three years to rediscovered how the 1227 piece movement function and began to bring back this defunct, though beautiful art form.

Just look at that tiny bird!

I find these things fascinating. But I like the insides of watches far more than the outsides...plus, goldsmith geekery.

Link | Frères Rochat Official Site
Link | Singing Bird Pistols  via Christies
Link | Twittering Machine via The Golden Smith

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Listening: Golden Slumber - The Beatles

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Beautiful Dirge of Dust and Grooves...


I am lazy with music. I buy, I download, I upload and I shuffle. I am lazy with music and in many respects I like it that way. I listen to music on shuffle because it means that I get treats and surprises. I love music, but don't listen to enough of it. I don't own a CD player any more and I am ashamed to say that my record player is in a cupboard and my records relegated to the spare room, all mixed in with my dads.

It's a very small collection of vinyl. Though slightly bigger if you include the pilfered albums from dad. Though I think of this as rescuing, seeing he keeps threatening to sell them all. And amongst them is one of my favourite albums, The Beatles by The Beatles, commonly known as The White Album. It's one of those albums that I have known for as long as I can remember. Family trips, holidays to the seaside, dancing and singing with my family as we mucked around, has been sound-tracked by that album among other. It never goes bad, it never gets old, it never stops being a little musical treat in a shuffle of songs on my iPod. It remains an album I can listen too, over and over again.

And I'm not alone.

 Artist Rutherford Chang has created something fascinating. By only collecting first pressing of The Beatles by The Beatles aka The White Album, Chang has created something unique, a 1,012 strong collection of battered, abused and much loved LPs. (He can't have the one above whatever pressing it is, it's my dad's own battered and bruised copy, with its dishevelled edges, torn back cover and the extras still within. And that smell, that only vinyl and things from my grandparents lofts have.) 


Each copy has its own personality, some have been scribbled and drawn on, other are damaged and weather-beaten from too much play or water damaged and scratched with time, but this makes the artistic part of his collection more interest.

Chang has layered the sound of a hundred of his albums one over another, and each imperfection adds to the dirge. Where today, if you played a hundred copies of an album, one on top of another, you would get perfect digitalised synchronisation, with vinyl, each crackle, each defect slowing takes the first side of this four part LP out of synch and become something quite trippy.



Shame he never did the other three sides, though it is an on going collection. But, I'd have like to hear a hundred Helter Skelter's and a hundred Ringo Starr's singing that final orchestral lullaby, Good Night.

"Good night...good night, everybody...everybody, everywhere...good night." (Good Night, The Beatles)


Link | We Buy White Albums
Link | Rutherford Chang - We Buy White Albums via Dust and Grooves
Link | 100 Original Pressings of the Beatles' White Album Played at Once via Buzzfeed
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Listening: Stronger Than Ever - Raleigh Ritchie

Authentic Weather


That's today's forecast from when I started and when I finished writing this post. And it couldn't be more accurate. It's tipping it down.

Designed by Tobias van Schneider, a multidisciplinary designer and creative director born in Germany, but now living in New York City. His focus is on branding and interactive design and the Authentic Weather App, which tries to be an honest and human weather reporter, started as a fun little project he forgot to put online.


To put it plainly, it's a weather app which speaks to me and speaks the bloody truth. I'd love to know what it thought about Scotland's heat wave...I certainly know how blue the air got at times downstairs at work when the thermometer hit 30°.

The reason I like this app, apart from the swearing - I swear too much - but it's a clean and simple app. No fussing, no explanations. You can find out the temperature if you need it, but in the end the weather is broken down into a cold hard fact. Is it raining? Yep. Is it going to rain tomorrow? Yep. Do I really need to know wind speeds, isobars and pollen counts?

Okay, yes, those are important when you need to know if it's safe to put out the washing, should you take that antihistamine or can you risk not taking an umbrella...but sometimes is it going to rain, yes or no, is simply enough.

And sometimes you just need something to tell you the weather's fucking crap.

I guess it's a weather app for the cynics among us.

Link | Authentic Weather
Link | Authentic Weather via The Design Blog
Link | Authentic Weather on Behance
Link | Tobias Van Schneider Blog and Portfolio
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Listening: Weather With You - Crowded House

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Inkpug!

 
Inkpug!, has becomes one of my favourite tumblrs over the last few months. And the above is why, it kills me because that feeling is far too familiar. Today for example.

That with the fact that pugs are wonderfully hilarious little animals, adds to the joy this tumblr brings me.
 
Drawn by Lauren and Gareth (though I don't know who is responsible for which pugs or if one draws and the other writes the poetry which goes along with some, or perhaps the other is responsible for making them into the items for sale in their Etsy shop), their medium for expressing feeling and experiences is pencil, paper and pugs. And when questioned as to whether they ever got bored of drawing pugs, their response was perfect:

"Secret is: I am not drawing pugs. I'm drawing feelings, and the pug is my conduit. So far, I haven't run out of feelings. If I do, I'll probably do fun stuff or sad stuff or general stuff until I have feelings again." (Do you every get sick of drawing pugs? July 15th 2014, Inkpug!)

I like that.
 
 
What began life as doodled pug butts in the margins of a school jotter (pug butts being inherently funny), has become something special and hopefully lucrative for the creators of Inkpug!

That, to me, is a lovely fact. Go visit their tumblr, it's adorable.

Link | Inkpug! on Tumblr
Link | Inkpug! on Etsy
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Listening: Good Friends Are Hard To Find  - Ed Harcourt

Monday, 4 August 2014

Trouble Will Find Me


I've been obsessed with the album since I started listening to it in the car a couple of months ago. The car being the only place I listen to an album start to finish these days as, since the advent of the iPod, I've been a slave to shuffle.

Anyway, the album is amazing and I know not everyone uses Spotify, so you may not be able to listen to the album this way, but seek out Trouble Will Find Me by The National, because it's incredible.

And I don't know how it manages to be somber and uplifting at the same time, but it does and it very quickly grows on you. Love it.

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Listening: Hard to Find - The National

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Nerdy Love Songs...

Okay, so, for my birthday, I got something special after a rather flippant comment to my dad four days prior to the big day, about how it was something I'd always been interested in. I got a Ukulele.


I know, groan, another sad wannabe hipster with her geeky glasses and a ukulele. But the truth is, I have wanted to learn how to play one since I first say Marilyn Monroe shimming down the aisle of a train playing one, in Some Like it Hot.

I can't remember how old I was, but I know by the time I was in high school it was one of my favourite films. Anyway, I wasn't going to mention it, as I didn't want to come off as someone jumping on the hipster band wagon, also because my past history with instruments is spotty at best, and I would be the first to tell you, I have no natural talent for music. My sisters would be first to confirm this.

Give me fire and metal and I can make you a ring. Give me paper and glue and I can make you a sheep. Needle and thread and a flock of birds shall appear...music and an instruments...well anyone who experienced my attempts at violin will understand why I'm too embarrassed to actually play anything I'm learning in front of anyone other than said paper sheep.

They're not judgemental. Though most are still wearing party hats and earmuffs...

Anyway, my admitting this comes after seeing this video:


So not only is Get Lucky by Daft Punk on ukulele immense, I have just regained a bit of my early 2000's crush on Jesse Bradford. I thought that crush was lost forever! But apparently the man just needs a musical instrument.

Who knew?

...oh, and by the way, I shall never be that good!

PS: Promise I will never force you into listening to my attempts at ukulele!
PPS: Why are the lame books always the ones in focus rather than the Shakespeare or the tonne of jewellery books? Why! Damn you Hipstamatic!
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Listening: Get Lucky - Daft Punk (covered by Lisa Vitale and Jesse Bradford)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Proud Romance


And would it not be proud romance
  Falling in some obscure advance,
To rise, a poppy field of France?     

      - William A. Percy "Poppy Fields"


I've updated the window at work. This is how I spent the Wimbledon final.

Work was hosting a VIP night on the following Tuesday, so we needed a new look. The frame company we were hosting it with, their branding is red, so I got to kill three birds with one stone, firstly the colour branding for the evening.

Secondly, I have been promising the ladies at work for years that I would build a Wizard of Oz themed display, so the fact that I miscalculated the amount of polystyrene (which went it far easier than I ever expected!) for the full length of the window, was beneficial, as I could also lay a yellow brick road between the poppies. There's also advertising for a green transition lens, which if I can find a poster, will act as the Emerald City at some point soon.

Thirdly, 2014 is the centenary of the start of the First World War. This was the main reason for making not far off a 1,000 poppies, to mark this occasion. The poppy isn't a marker for death, or a sign of supporting going to war, it is a simple marker for people to commemorate the events from July 28th 1914 to November 11th 1918 and the people who fought.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, through poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- Lt. Col. John McCrae "In Flanders Fields"


I'm also serious about the nearly 1,000 poppies, I had four hundred on one of the scraps of polystyrene I was transporting them on, two hundred a piece on two others and at least another hundred on another...yep, I went poppy mad. But it doesn't feel like that many when you're making them in bundles of tens and are determined to finish a reel of green garden wire.

Did I mention I was insane?

Link | WW1 Centenary - The Royal British Legion
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Listening: Love and War (11/11/46) - Rilo Kiley

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Duet...



Who is your favourite Disney character? Which is your favourite film?

Everyone has their favourites. I have a strong emotional reaction to Dumbo, thinking about him swinging on his mothers trunk as she's imprisoned makes me cry without even trying. Sleeping Beauty and Robin Hood where go too movies when I was little, unwell and the floor was covered in Lego, and The Little Mermaid, I will never stop loving that film.

And the man behind Ariel, and her voluminous locks of bright red hair, Glen Keane, has just released Duet. A beautiful short taking you on the traditional (and enviable) route of most Disney films, from first meeting to romantic conclusion.

Let's face it, Disney not only gave all us girls unrealistic expectations about our hair, but about relationships...

...I'm nearly 30, I'm only mostly jaded and preparing for a life of spinsterhood, seeing most of my peers are married. But Disney and the imagination of people like Glen Keane, still keep that little bit of hope burning inside.

Hope for that passing meeting, love at first site and a happy ending.


Link | This Disney Animator [...] by Brian Troug from Buzzfeed
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Listening: Love in a Minor Key - Ed Harcourt
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