Sunday, 11 August 2019

Ramblings: July

It's time for me to ramble my way through a few things that have happened or I've enjoyed throughout the month of July. And I guess the best place to start is during the first seven days and something good...

Ruby Wedding

Firstly, sorry mum, I couldn't resist the picture, I love this one of you and dad, it's sickeningly cute.

My parents have been married for forty years and celebrated their Ruby Wedding Anniversary at the start of the month. They were twenty three when they got married, and they'd already been together for about seven years before that happened. Which is kind of sweet and insane.

No wonder I have unrealistic ideas about relationships and my status...

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Action Blocked

So, yeah, Instagram is an ass, and has decided to put me on a time out.

"Action Blocked", this pop-up has been haunting me this month. In fact I got this message during the first week of July, on my parents anniversary, and have periodically been getting it on and off all month and it's it's really irritating me.

This seems to be a pretty common issue for people, which seems to have no distinct solution or cause. Some I've seen include following too many people; liking too many pictures; following and unfollowing too many people in quick succession - usually used as a means to gain followers; commenting on too many posts; commenting the same thing on too many posts; general bot like behaviour which results in your IP address being dinged and your account being blocked because they think you're a robot.

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What can I say? You caught me Instagram. I'm actually a really rather sophisticated robot and my only goal in life is to show strangers on your website that I like and appreciate their photographs, illustrations and motivational statements. You were right to ban me and my wicked ways while allowing "celebrities" to advertise diet teas and coffees to young and impressionable minors who idolise them and would literally empty their wallets and put their lives in danger to achieve their surgically enhanced physiques...

Yes, you're right to punish your users for enjoying your website, whist also not providing any means actually contacting you for help. There's no help desk. No account or email to reach them. Twitter messages seem to be ignored. And the length of time users are being blocked - which they used to tell you and no longer do - seems to vary from an hour, to a week, to a month or longer.

I do realise it's silly to be irritated by this. In the end it's just a website and I can still enjoy looking at my feed and graciously the one action I have never had an issue with is saving posts to my favourites, so can at least return to posts I've enjoyed. But I really like the format of the website, I like going on and scrolling through my feed, seeing what illustrator will make me laugh, or craft will spark and idea, and I like that when someone I follow has something nice happen to them, or indeed sad, I can show support by sending a heart.

Removing the ability to heart posts or follow accounts has put a dampener on things. The last time I got dinged was on the 28th, it's happened on and off all month and it's stopping me wanting to go on the site. I'm going to try posting some photos and using the app on my phone while I'm out or at my grandparents to see if a change in IP address helps (my little sister has had the same issue which makes me think it's probably the cause), but I can only hope this is a glitch in the software.

If anyone else has been having this issue and has any suggestions I would be grateful of the input or I'll just offer another shoulder to whinge on about the woes of social media.

YouTube Love: Pompberry

It's amazing how quickly being on a particular social media site becomes part of your normal, everyday routine. For a long time in uni I avoided Facebook, then when I graduated, my friends encouraged me to sign up so we could keep in touch. But when I went back to uni again, and was spending ninety percent of my time on my laptop rather than in the workshop, it was the perfect means of distraction. Then it became something I had to check every five minutes.

And I will freely admit that I'm missing the distraction of Instagram, but outwith I've been watching a lot of one particular YouTube channel this month, mostly because I couldn't stop clicking video after video.

That channel is Pompberry, and the makeup artistry of Fernanda Machado.

Some makeup channels on YouTube I watch because I want to be able to recreate their makeup looks or improve my skills. Some I watch because they do special effects and character makeup looks which I just find fascinating for the artistry that goes into them. Other channels I watch for the personality of the makeup artist and the conversation that accompanies their work. Pompberry I watch because of all these reasons.

While her "wearable" looks aren't necessarily something I would have the confidence to wear out - though I wish I did - I love her makeup style. She has a beautiful, soft painterly way of dealing with colour, creating these ethereal, blushing looks which are blended to perfection, but can be graphic and stylised as well. Recreating other peoples artwork in her own style, dozens of characters for her series 31 days of Pomp-o-ween series and even creating a stop motion makeup animation of Totoro crossing her chest and being enveloped into the world of Studio Ghibli, for the NYX Face Awards 2016...

She made the Top 6 and shaved her hair off as part of her final entry.

As I said, I've been binge watching her videos over the month and would highly, highly recommend her channel if you're into makeup, if you are tired of watching the same things being reviewed, and actually want to see makeup tutorials, especially ones which aren't just the same warm smokey eye over and over again. Pompberry will not disappoint, and she's sweet and weird to boot.

I even made it easy with the playlist above to get you started!

Link || Pompberry || Website || YouTube || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook

Commercial Weirdness

Companies are always looking for ways to interact with their customers. Ways to make us feel as though we're appreciate our custom, that by giving us little bonuses or treats for spending a certain amount of money or buying particular products, this will encourage us to come back and spend more money.

These little gifts can range from extra points on your loyalty card, vouchers for money off items, small physical items etc, but Marks and Spencer has taken a strange tact in ingratiating itself with its customers...

... miniature replications of their food in blind bags for us to keep and collect!

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Oh, and you also get a little card to tell you what they are... and a joke!

I'm not being mean, just amused. They're well made, well packaged, the company obviously invested in their Little Shop idea. Even going as far as to create a little shop sign, trolley, basket, apron and collectors album you can purchase to go along with your new collectables. But it's also incredibly manipulative and I'm actually curious (a) what their target audience thing of the "treat" and (b) how many of them end up in landfill almost immediately because of the three in my photograph, only one could be fully recycled. Which given we now pay upwards of 10p a bag if we don't bring our own to try and reduce plastic, some companies even starting to switch to paper to help the environment, shouldn't they all be recyclable?

I was a kid in the 90's, I grew up with Pogs...

...  I remember sitting in the playground with my friends playing with these, and we needed as many as possible because we were going to end up loosing half of them the following day in the playground (yes, once upon a time hitting a pile of cardboard circles was considered fun and was most 90's kids first introduction into gambling). The Kinder Surprise were introduced to the U.K. and we were presented with the teeny terrapins... remember the terrapins?

They were coveted by everyone, and we all tried so hard to get the full set, begging parents to by us chocolate, not because we wanted chocolate but because we wanted those damn terrapins... and chocolate. It's a tried and true way to make parents spend money. Blind bag a toy for their kids, make it a mystery and  give it away when they spend twenty pounds on their shopping.

The fact that these are shopping items doesn't even seem particularly weird to me, because I remember my big sisters best friend when we lived in Aberdeen. She had a Wendy house and inside the Wendy house, on little shelves, were tiny toy food stuffs, and I remember being obsessed by them. It's well over twenty years later and I can still picture them, my obsession was that strong.

But that's what we do as humans isn't it? Become obsessive collectors of stuff. When we're little it's Pogs, terrapins and other tiny collectables. When we're older it's whatever you want. Books, games, CD's, DVD's, makeup, jewellery, Funko Pops, badges, Russian dolls, vintage glass perfume bottles... we all have that desire in us to collect. It's no wonder companies use it to their advantage and to the detriment of our pockets.

Also, give these to kids. Not to people who will literally just open them out of curiosity, then throw them in the bin... or, you know, blog about them and have them sitting on their shelf, because of the hoarder instinct that thinks they're ridiculous but also knows that that honey bottle is cute and is probably going to sit on a shelf as a tiny curiosity.

Link || M&S Little Shop
Link || Kinder Surprise Complete Collectable Set 10 Figurines Teen Terrapins 1993 via Surprise Egg Toys on Etsy

Stranger Things #3

And now to Stranger Things...

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Season Three dropped on Netflix and I, like the telly addict I am, instantly binge watched the whole series. But I don't feel at all bad about it, seeing the series broke streaming records with 40.7 million accounts watching the new season in the first four days it was available, Netflix biggest viewership for an original series to date. So, I wasn't alone in being quick off the mark.

Full of the homages to the eighties, I really love Stranger Things, and the third instalment didn't disappoint. I particularly enjoyed seeing Eleven and Max being teenage girls and going on a shopping spree, and Steve and Robin may have become one of my favourite pairings in their matching Scoops Ahoy! uniforms.

And then there's the inevitable fan art that appears as fans of the show worked their way through the series and bubbled with excitement...

... see, this is why Instagram being an ass is so rubbish, I can't show these artists any love!

If you've not watched Stranger Things before, I really can't recommend it enough. The Duffer Brothers, who created, write and direct the series have created their own homage to all the films, music and tropes that they loved from the eighties. Combining science fiction, horror, mystery and the joys of growing up, it swings from intense drama and terror, to the characters running amok in typical teenage style, despite the creatures of the Upside Down constantly trying to make their way into reality.

And now we have to wait a year for the next season! A YEAR!

A YEAR to find out what happened too...

... no spoilers.

(As an update, my lovely mother and Tom Holland have now completely spoiled me for upcoming deaths in Avengers: End Game. I almost managed to make it to the DVD release, but no, she blurted it out over dinner!)

Link || Stranger Things || Netflix || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || IMDb || Wikipedia || Rotten Tomatoes

Blonde Ambition

I suppose the strangest thing that happened in July was also the one which was most inevitable. The U.K. has a new Prime Minister and... well, if you've got Donald Trump's approval, you can guess what kind of buffoon we now call our commander and chief.

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Boris Johnson, former Major of London, zip line expert, Brexitier (though conveniently did nothing to actually achieve Brexit after that idiotic decision and only too to bashing any attempts made by others) and newly appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom...

... Canada, are you accepting refugees from the U.K. at the moment? Because I'm sure there will be a few applicant.

Link || Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Donald via The Washington Post

Double Tap...

Now, given we seem to be entering the apocalypse, here are some helpful rules to remember:

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Image result for zombieland gif when in doubt know your way out
Image result for zombieland gif check the back seat
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As rule #32 tells us, you've got to "enjoy the little things" and as if by magic, after mentioning it last month, the trailer for Zombieland: Double Tap was released and I have to say I'm excited.

I'm not saying this looks like the perfect sequel, but it has reminded me why I loved these characters and the original movie, so even with a few seemingly obvious tropes head of us, I really am looking forward to this coming out in September more and more. Not that I really needed any more encouragement, I've been looking forward to this since it was announced.

Even if you're not a fan of horror or zombie movies, I'd still recommend the original Zombieland, much as I would Shaun of the Dead. They're not dreadfully scary, the comedy aspect takes away from the more gory moments, and large portions of the movie are dedicated to bickering between characters in a true example of good chemistry between actors, and rants about Twinkies. Which, while they may survive years after their expiry date, are truly disgusting.

If you do watch the movie, I do however, have to warn you about a zombie clown moment... even I'm not okay with zombie clowns.

And if nothing else, remember the rules and you might survive...

Link || Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) || IMDb || Wikipedia || Rotten Tomatoes || Twitter

Blown Away

When I was younger, my family and I went on holiday (I think to Durham) and ended up at the National Glass Museum in Sunderland. This was probably one of the last family holidays we went on and we took a day trip to the museum probably as part of a round about trip to go and see Anthony Gormley's Angel of The North.

A glass museum, to someone in their early teens probably didn't seem that thrilling, it was the holidays and we probably just wanted to go swimming at the hotel and wander around town, even though the shops were all the same as at home. But we were on holiday, and on holiday you go on day trips sight seeing. I vaguely remember walking in and not being that interested until I saw a piece of work by Laura Johnson, an installation of triangular dichroic glass, which looked like a shoal of iridescent fish swimming through the museum.
They were beautiful and I was instantly obsessed, to the point where I still have a postcard somewhere of them year later. Then we got to watch a glassblower at work. It was amazing, and it's been something I've been fascinated by since. But there's rarely a craft I don't get mildly obsessed with. I even have glass rods stashed at the top of a shelf, bought to try my hand at lamp work, but I'm still yet to give it a go. One day.

I feel like I'm very media based this month, but I have a art/design/craft show to recommend this month, in the shape of Netflix's competitive glass blowing show, Blown Away.

"You haven’t really lived until you’ve heard a fifty-seven-year-old woman yell “Glory hole!” while wielding a long iron rod with the confidence of an Olympic pole vaulter."
(Rachel Symes for The NewYorker, 2019)
I think that statement from an review written by Rachel Symes for The New Yorker probably sums it up pretty well. The competition aside, it was really just fascinating to watch a group of glassblowers at work, designing and creating incredible pieces of glass work from the raw materials. Plus, I trained as a jeweller, I love me a bit of fire, fear and panic while being creative... you don't want to know how many blow torches I own.

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Only aspect I really didn't enjoy about Blown Away, were the confessional style interviews. They're a recurring theme in competitive reality shows. Sit each contestant down and interview them, get their reaction to other contestants work and preferably them bitching each other out and belittling their work. It's a part of these shows I really dislike. Even though I realise it's a competition, that they're competing for thousands of dollars, and producers and editor want this content to hype up the drama, but it makes the artists look petty and unpleasant at times.

Maybe I'm jaded by the Great British format, where they rally around other competitors, offering advise and assistance when everything is too much, but while being mean spirited may add drama to a reality show, it also sours your audience against the competitors. In Blown Away's case, one of the biggest offenders for this behaviour in my eyes (and others) made it to the final eliminating another glassblower who seemed to perform better throughout the competition and wasn't nearly as antagonistic or explosive while working.

So did they get through on merit, or because they added drama and an even more competitive nature to the show?

I don't know, but watching glassblowers at work was fascinating. And while people queried if given the high temperatures and molten glass it was wise for the show to be quite so fast paced with seemly quite short time challenges, I think the speed and pressure is probably just part of that world and a lot to do with how it was edited. If you're into craft and art shows on telly, I definitely recommend this - why else would I be mentioning it - and I'm already planning on rewatching.

Link || Blown Away || Netflix || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Wikipedia || IMDb
Link || The Fiery Pleasures of “Blown Away,” a Reality-TV Competition for Glassblowing by Rachel Symes via The New Yorker
Link || National Glass Museum (Sunderland) || Website || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook
Link || Laura Johnson || Website || Twitter

Pillow Talk

As I've mentioned previously, I've been trying to finish craft projects I've either started or have been putting off and one of them was making new covers for cushions. Well over a year ago, I turned the desk in my bedroom - which I rarely used because of it's awkward angled shape as part of a bay window - into a window seat.

It's been an ongoing project, I made the seat and cut a foam seat, then didn't buy any fabric to cover it properly. Then after redecorating in May, I was determined to finish, so started havering over fabrics. Then I just happened to noticed a pair of pink curtains. Curtains have a lot of thick material and they were reduced from sixty to thirty, and in the perfect colour, so I made a snap decision to buy them. Then I got to the till and they had been reduced again to sixteen! Bargain.

This was also in May, the fabric then sat in my room until July because, given the odd shape, I was convinced it was going to be a complete pain to cover and go hideously wrong, so I'd been putting it off. Luckily it went really smoothly in the end and I have a load of fabric left over.

Am I going to show you the seat cushion? No. It's really not that interesting, what are, are the cushions I made over the past couple of years and now, since I made the seat, actually have a home.

I got a little obsessed with bargello/Florentine needlepoint. My mum handmade lots of cushions around the house this way and I've grown up with them around me, so I decided to give it a go and try to cover some less than attractive looking old cushions I had and would otherwise have been relegated to the loft or thrown away.

This was the first one, which I actually made for my mum, isn't a traditional pattern, instead I went rogue and based it on a photo of a cactus (Euphorbia obesa) and then once I was done with the wool, sewing in hundreds of tiny beads.

Then I covered three little cushions with the ogee or pomegranate stitch, which is probably my favourite pattern:

Then there was a simple leaf stitch cushion to try and use up a glut of white Arran wool my gran gave me, which I gave a neon pink edging and my little sister then stole.  

Okay, she said she liked it and I said she could have it. Don't say I'm not a nice sister.

This last ogee patterned cushion is my favourite of all of them because of the colours. Irritatingly they don't show true in photos and I've tried to edit to approximately what it should be, however the coral at the base of the pattern is almost neon and isn't showing. But I just love the colour combination and finding the transition shades was more fluke than careful planning, since I was actually using a lot of really old tapestry wool my mum used for her original cushions.

I know they may look a little seventies, but I like them and it was a fun way to play with colour.

Oh... and then there's the pompom cushion.

I saw a pompom cushion on A Kailo Chic Life, and last year set out to make one. I made hundreds of pompoms in different sizes, and then sewed them all to a piece of fabric to make a cushion... it didn't exactly work, so it sat on my chair waiting for inspiration to strike. Then it did. I'd also made a bolster out of the pink curtain fabric to help give back support in when I'm sitting in bed, this turned out to look like a pink sausage, so I have to try and work out how to jazz it up, but it left me with a slightly sad looking Ikea cushion to do something about... ding, ding, ding! I unpicked all the pompoms, sewed them onto the cushion, shortened it a little and knitted it a backing to hide all the rough work and tails.

Is it perfect? No. Do I have a place for it to live? No. Do I kind of love it? Yes!

It's ridiculous but incredibly tactile and squishy and I'm glad I finally got it to work. Not entirely sure what I'd have done with all those pompoms if I hadn't!

Anyway, cushion projects completed! Seven hundred other random projects to go!

Link || DIY It - A Cozy Pom Pom Pillow from A Kailo Chic Life 
Link || A Kailo Chic Life || Website || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Pinterest

Instagram Love: Ladyaxolotl

I love Sophie Corrigan's illustrations, but this just made me giggle.

Link || Sophie Corrigan a.k.a. Ladyaxolotl || Website || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || YouTube || Etsy || Redbubble || Society6 || Amazon

Always Be Knolling

Another project on my life is trying to improve my photography skills when it comes to the things that I make. Admittedly I've become lazy over the years and rather than charging the battery, emptying the CF card and actually taking out my SLR camera which has been gathering dust, I use my phone to take photos. There was a point in my life when I didn't leave the house without at least my compact camera in my bag. Back then (in the dark ages when we had to walk miles in the snow to get water) the cameras on phones were lousy, in fact my first two photos didn't even have a camera! Now, every new generation of phone has a progressively higher quality camera meaning that the need/desire to take multiple devises has been reduced.

All while taking a good photograph has become pretty important.

One type of photography I am really attracted too is called knolling, though it is more commonly known as a flat lay, and has become an Instagram favourite.

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The term knolling was originally coined in by Andrew Kromelow in 1987 while he was working as a janitor at Frank Gehry's furniture fabricators. Gehry was designing chairs for the popular furniture brand, Knoll founded by Florence and Hans Knoll in the 1940's, and is still known for its clean, geometric and architectural furniture.

At the end of Kromelow's working day, he would gather any tools life out around the workshop and would then lay the tools out on a flat surface, grouping them together at right angles to one another creating an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. Kromelow called this knolling because the regular, structured angles reminded him of the furniture created by Florence Knoll.

Embraced by artists, photographers and designers such as Tom Sachs, who helped popularise the style and uses it as an integral part of his design practice (Ten Bullets), and Todd McLellan who in his series "Things Come Apart" disassembles everyday objects into their individual parts and creates flat lays of all the pieces. However, it's also been employed greatly within the advertising and commercial world to sell products by using product arrangement to tell a story. But generally, knolling has just become an attractive and dynamic way to group objects together

From clothing and accessories to food and flowers, laying your collection on a flat surface, arranged neatly (or at purposefully disorganised but really very calculated in its design) and at least for me, incredibly attractive. But I'm the kind of creative weirdo who will have chaos everywhere and then tidy up my desk by putting everything I'm not using away and line everything else up neatly in groups... little did I know, I was knolling, and not just procrastinating!

Inspired by one mans method of tidying up, knolling and flat lays aren't going anywhere fast. In fact their popularity just seems to be growing. Got to love a trend that lends itself to the collector in us and makes us organise it properly too.

Link || What Is Knolling? The Overhead Photography Trend Explained via Creative Market Blog
Link || Knolling via The Vegan Artist
Link || Knolling, The Trend that Kills Creativity via VectorVice
Link || Knoll Inc. || Website || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Pinterest
Link || Tom Sachs || Website || Ten Bullets || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || YouTube || Vimeo
Link || A Guide to Tom Sachs via Hyperbeast
Link || Todd McLellan || Website || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || YouTube || Vimeo
Link || Flatlays || Instagram
Link || Cool Flat Lay || Instagram
Link || Flatlay || Instagram || Twitter


Every year I plant seeds. This year that includes nasturtiums, sweetpeas, runner beans, chervil, geraniums and tomatoes. The flowers because they're pretty. The veggies because the beans are easy to grow and mum likes them; chervil, a delicate anise flavoured herb I grow because chervil soup is a family recipe my gran has been making as long as I can remember; and tomatoes because I remember my grandpa growing them, and I like to eat them, but I love the smell of the plants themselves. Plus after a few failures, I will conquer growing them!

I love nasturtiums, and they're brilliant because they don't care about what soil you put them in, so it doesn't have to be good quality, they don't need any addition feeding and are drought tolerant. Bees love them. The flowers, leaves and seeds are all edible. And if you don't deadhead, they'll go to seed and you'll never have to buy any ever again. Just let the seeds get really big, and either drop or I roll them gently between my fingers and if they fall off without any force they're ready. Take them indoors and place them on a plate or flat container lined with a piece of kitchen roll, pop them somewhere warm and dark to dry and out and then store in an envelope or an opaque jar until the next year. 

I've been doing this for the last two or three years (I also bought some for different colours and varieties) and I have so many seeds I don't think I'll ever get through them all. Using reclaimed seeds means you don't get a say on which colours you're going to get, but I actually don't mind that, it means it's a surprise and who ever said no to free seeds!

Some of the packet seeds I've used over the year and so are mixed into my homegrown mix have been: Thompson & Morgan Banana SplitAlaska Mix, Tom Thumb Mix, Milkmaid, Jewel of Africa, Empress of India, Mr. Fothergill's RHS Alaska Salmon Orange, Jewel Mix, Unwins Whirly Bird Mix, Peach Melba Superior, Maharajah Mix.

Honestly I've bought many packets over years and I don't think any had a problem sprouting, so brand doesn't seem to matter, just buy the ones you think are prettiest, plant them between March and May depending on where you are, wait and then they add a really amazing pop of colour to your garden and the bees love them...

The first of the sweetpeas I grew from seed have been flowering...

 ... aren't they pretty? They smell amazing and as hard as it was to do, mum encouraged me to cut the flowers to encourage the to grow more flowers. I particularly like the raspberry ripple coloured variety, which from looking online is possibly called Vaudeville, however it was part of a mix.

For anyone interested I planted three types, Sutton Seeds True Fragrance Mix (which has both single and bicoloured varieties), Sutton Seeds Prince of Orange and Sutton Seeds Old Fashioned Scented Mix.

I planted them in March (I think) and I think all but two of the seeds I planted actually came up. I planted them out during the warm weather at the end of April, I've been feeding them with tomato feed and they've been happily scrambling up some trellis I made out of old shelves.

Recycling for the win!

Last year my sweetpeas didn't flower, they got swallowed up by runner beans - which I've planted elsewhere in the garden this year and are also currently flowering - and the tomatoes I planted also came to nothing...

... not this year! Yes, I have successfully managed to grow tomatoes which have flowered and fruited. They're in hanging baskets at the front of the house and after planting them out into the baskets last month, I really didn't think they'd come to anything. But they've grown huge and this is the result. I'm really excited about these, which is sad, but I've been trying to successfully grow tomatoes for a few years now and they've been a bit of a let down.

This is also the first time I've tried to grow them in baskets, so I'm really happy about that.

Again, if anyone's interested, I planted four different varieties all are dwarf cherry varieties which are recommended to be grown in baskets, two of them were red: Thompson & Morgan Balconi Red and Mr. Fothergill's Maskotka and two were yellow: Thompson & Morgan Balconi Yellow and Mr. Fothergill's Tumbling Tom Yellow.

Which of these are actually the ones fruiting I'm not sure. I did label them but they're high up and it's raining out. Plus I'm almost positive just looking at the leaves and style of the plant it's the Balconi Red/Yellow, they have thicker stems and fuller leaves and are just more substantial looking plants than the other two which are finer and more tumbling.

Whichever they are, it'll just be nice to have actual tomatoes!


Bon Iver is releasing a new album on August 30th!! 

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He's been releasing a few tracks over the past two months, Hey, Ma; U (Man Like); Faith and Jelmore, two of which (Hey, Ma and Faith) I was instantly obsessed by because they almost bridge the gap between the sound of Vernon's first album For Emma, Forever Ago and his third and most recent, 22, A Million.

The other two tracks have, and are growing on me every time I listen to them, but with every one that has been released so far, I've just gotten more and more excited about the full album being released.

So far this year two of my favourite musician have released new albums and I just read that once again Bon Iver and James Blake will be collaborating on a track for i,i...

... the first time I listened to Blake's eponymously titled debut album I really, really wanted the two to collaborate. Then Blake released the Enough Thunder E.P. a few months later with the pair collaborating on the track Fall Creek Boys Choir and that was it, I was toast. They collaborated again on I Need A Forest Fire, for Blake's third album The Colour in Anything. This has turned into the ultimate collaborative pairing for me and one day I will need them to make a full album together.

If they could somehow get Ray Lamontagne or Keaton Henson involved too, even better.

Though my heart might explode with excitement and music tingles.

Link || Bon Iver || Website || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || YouTube || Spotify || iTunes || Soundcloud

Too Soon...

I know that there's Christmas in July, but really Hobbycraft? I know I can't go into your shop without spending a small fortune in beads and shiny things I'll probably not use for a long time, but Christmas emails in July? Not on!

Yes, I received my first Christmas emails. Yes! Emails! A couple of days after Hobbycraft decided to celebrate Christmas in July, Love Crafts decided to join in! And I do realise that these companies target audience, if they're selling their creations, have to get started with Christmas stock relatively early, but really, July?

Even YouTubers' are at it!

To be fair to Mel Thompson, the cosmetics company she's talking about, Sydney Grace, is the one having the Christmas in July sale, but she was the third person to bring it up. Did I end up spending a ridiculous amount of time looking at all the pretty makeup they sell after watching this video, and placing items in my "if only they sold in the UK/damn you import duties" board on Pinterest? Absolutely, but mentioning the C word is still not okay!

I can forgive companies starting to send out emails before we've even reached November, but July is too early. Christmas seems like five minutes ago and I don't want to be reminded that we're not over half way through the year and the joyous event is going to be here sooner than anyone can believe!

Hobbycraft/Love Crafts/Sydney Grace! Stop it!

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Link || Hobbycraft || Website || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || YouTube || Pinterest
Link || Love Crafts || Website || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || YouTube || Pinterest
Link || Mel Thompson || Instagram || YouTube
Link || Sydney Grace Company || Website || Instagram || Twitter || Facebook

It's not finished... it's finished...

Honestly, I'm glad July is over with. The last couple of weeks I've been really down and feeling crap about life, the universe and everything. Put it down to the weather, mid year mind fuckery, lack of sleep (combined with very vivid dreams about old friends) and a raging case of PMS...

... it was the perfect storm or life vs. hormones.

At the end of the month/first week of August, when I'm finishing writing and editing, I feel better than I did. I actually feel more like myself and finally started the mammoth task of tidying the spare room and almost found my desk! It's been hidden by cardboard boxes, bits of furniture and piles of craft supplies I couldn't put away because I literally couldn't get too the drawers because of said cardboard boxes.

Boxes. Bane of my month apparently.

But make excellent cat traps...

... large cat must squeeze entire self into a tiny box so that during the summer, despite the rain, he has somewhere to sleep outside. He's in there right now! All curled up and stupidly adorable!

Oh, and bar the geranium that's flowering, I grew all of these! Which is cool. Nicer if they'd flower! (I just looked five minutes before posting... there are flower spikes coming!!! Yay!)

Hope anyone who is reading this has/had a good month and I'll be back with more ramblings for August!

Listening: Doomed - Moses Sumney
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