Saturday, 30 August 2014

Musical Interlude: "How Will I Know"



So pretty. Sam Smith covering Whitney Houston's, How Will I Know. 
I do like the covers done on the Saturday Sessions with Dermot O'Leary. 

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Listening: How Will I Know - Sam Smith

Thursday, 28 August 2014

You asked for a kitten...


...so you got cat cake*.

It was my little sisters and my grans birthday today. Yep, double birthday joy in our house today!

So my big sister and I did the usual attempt at making the little one an epic cake (last year she got slightly deformed looking Minions made of marshmallows). This year however, Sarah made the cake, which is a vanilla chiffon with Kaluhua soaked into it and chocolate icing...I did the decorating.

It may have induced a sugar coma. But it got Louise the kitten she "joked" about getting for her birthday.

Happy Birthday Louise and Gran!

xxx

PS: Also, Happy Birthday to David!

* No cats were hurt during the making of this cake.
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Listening: Birthday - The Sugarcubes

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)
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