It's a wonderful collection of advertisements from the last 100 years...stuff to drool over...
Like many, I am fond of wielding scissors and cutting up bits of paper. I've just discovered the inordinately talented Peter Callesen and drooled for hours. The guy is a paper genius.
Widcombe Studios are having their Open Day at the end of November (I think it's the 30th Nov-1st Dec). Details are coming soon so I'll keep you posted...
A friend from the Bath Publisher meetings, Richard Lawrence, has his printing studio there: he has a wonderful treadle press and an amazingly-old hand press there, all in use. When I last visited, he was in the midst of printing beautiful hand-printed flyers for the Edinburgh Fringe festival. It really is a step back in time.
I'm desperate to visit the Type Museum in London: but it's under development, with limited access to the collections at present. I excitedly emailed them and I was told they don't know when it will re-open to it's full capacity - but will keep my beady eye on its website...
An hour merrily searching the web can yield more than knitted dinosaurs (hard to believe, but true!): look what beauties I’ve found! Cindy Ferguson creates the most wonderful art from a sharpened blade and a sheet of paper (her lacewing ant lion bug is on the left). And I LOVE her mosquito life-cycle cut out. Another wonderful blend of art and science!
One of my childhood 'keep-yourself-out-of-trouble-for-days' play-activities was to make cards and pictures by cutting out shapes. I remember doing an enormous Tigger out of cutting card (his stripes were tricky!)...but I didn't realise that there's actually a name out there for us like-minded card-snippers (pronounced 'shair-en-shnit-teh' apparently)!
There doesn't seem to be that much information out there (epecially not in the U.K. - but the U.S. is throwing up more sites, but not many there either - incidently, there seems to be a big religious connection...). You can purchase patterns here. In an ideal world, perhaps I should learn to draw first so I don't need to buy a pattern, but - blimey - let's be serious?! I supposed, though, all you really need is a unbroken image/photocopy from a book/the web and away you go..!
So now I'm hooked (as well as trapped in the blind-ending sock-tube of No Return). There's a plethora of paper-cutting information here for any other people who really should be finishing off the projects they've already started...but have eyes too big for their crafting-time-slots.
...this is pretty amazing. Googling for something random threw up this equally random item, which has sucked me right in: eco-balls and dryer-balls. I got mine through the post yesterday...(the whole set is ~£50 from here).
The idea is to use the eco-balls (right) to replace traditional laundry powder. They're good because: they are reuseable for up to 1000 washes which equates to ~3.5p per wash; there are no harsh chemicals and so no pollution; the rinse cycle can be shortened saving water and electricity; and they will not fade bright colours or damage clothing fibres.
The science is really badly explained on most the websites that I've looked at - sigh. But some better websites, and some grappling around for remnants of Physics GCSE, rustles up this: it seems that dirt is positively charged and the carbonate-filled eco-balls create a negative charge in the water, lifting the dirt away from the fibre. I seem to remember that traditional detergent and soaps are also negatively charged as well, which would seem to fit. Anyway, the science is just for fun: do the blighters actually work?!
Last night's experiment seems to suggest that they are well worth the cash. Allotment clothes (wet Glastonbury style) went in and happy, clean clothes came out! All traces of dirt were gone - except some traces of particularly muddy stains where I'd been trying to tie up my Sweet Peas in the monsoons that we've been having. Nothing was ever going to get them out anyway..!
Dryer-balls were harder to test (they reportedly reduce drying time by 25%): I know that my dryer's not that efficient (as it's a combi) and usually takes aggggggggges but last night it seemed to dry the whole load in 50 minutes...
My pack came with a Magno-ball, which claims to soften water and prevent limescale build-up...no idea how to tell if this works but I whacked it in anyway...
A possible drawback is that the eco-balls can't be dried, and the dryer-balls can't be washed, so you have to do a swap between cycles (but I never leave it on when I'm not in anyway after a dryer fault caused a fire a few years back...).
The only odd thing about these things is that the clothes don't smell of detergent but, given that it makes me sneeze, that's got to be a good thing. Line-dried clothes smell of nothing too...
Oh, and, at the beginning of the wash cycle, there is the faint sound of a tombola taking place while all the balls jiggle about...
...not, unfortunately, of the crafting variety...but in my whole body. I'm running the Bristol Half Marathon in September (in memory of the friend who was alluded to in my last post) and am trying to train. Given my tea-bag lung capacity and wonky knees this will be a feat indeed for me...
A friend who knows a lot about all-things-sporty watched me run and commented 'try to run with your knees pointing straight ahead'. Eh? How am I not doing that?! Oh dear: says it all really.
Thought I should share this amazing website called Run London. Although it looks Londoncentric this is just an illusion: it seems to cover the whole of the UK. If you put the first part of your postcode into the start point search it will take you to a zoomable map of your area. Then start plotting your route and click on the roads you wish to use to get a distance of that route.
I'm only able to run for an hour at the moment and need to get up to twice that over the next couple of months...ugh. And this allows me to work out landmarks that I need to reach in order to build up slowly...hurray! Less measuring roads in the A-Z map with a piece of string, using map-scales and calculators, with a pencil behind my ear...and more merry clicking from my sofa whilst eating chocolate. Excellent.
Sadly, though, it appears that my regular running route is only 2.6 miles and I'd been telling myself it was more like 4 miles. Sometimes not knowing the truth is easier to bear...dammit.
What was the best, most life-altering thing you brought last year? Is it very sad that mine is lots and lots of holes joined together with string? It's small enough to scrunch into my pocket when empty, doesn't give you sore hands even when rammed full, carrys lots and (the best bit) leaves your home and the environs plastic-bag free. Admittedly, 2 little old ladies were chuckling at them the other day (oh, the irony) but I hold my stringy neck up high.