Thursday, 29 January 2009

Broken ladies

I got this parcel in the post from Ebay - a group of broken vintage china pincushion ladies. Not sure what I'll make with them yet, but I think they're lovely. There are stylish flappers, demure Victorian ladies and cute little girls.

Just a short post today, as my back is still playing me up and I can't sit at my desk for more than about 15 minutes. It seems the china pincushion dolls are not the only broken ladies round here!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

16 things about me

Yes, this is me! I'm about 8 or 9 in my lovely school uniform in the back garden. Sadly, I still have those knees! This photo makes me laugh A LOT!

I've been tagged on Flickr to list 16 random facts about myself. I'm not altogether sure what I think about tagging. Sometimes when bloggers say they've been tagged, it sounds like a chore they've been given. But this wasn't a chore at all. In fact, I'd been dying to do this one for weeks, as it had been doing the rounds on Flickr! Every time I saw a new contact write their list, I'd be thinking 'Tag me! Tag me!'

I don't know if that makes me self-obsessed. Possibly. I had way more than 16 facts I thought about sharing, but these were the random 16 I chose.

1. I went to an all-girls school. When I started it was compulsory to wear those hats (as in the photo). We also had indoor and outdoor shoes, and we had to wear bottle green knickers with our name tag in them! (And yes, the teachers did check - twice a year!)

2. I love cats, and would love to own one, but I'm allergic to them (as is Mr Kitsch). About the time of the photo above, my family adopted a stray black and white cat. My brothers called her Kipper. I used to sneeze a lot but never realised I was allergic to cats until I left home.

3. Other childhood pets included George the Budgie, Amy the Rabbit, Sandy the Hamster and some short-lived goldfish. When I was at college, I had a beautiful mauve-grey budgie called Bianca, and nearly got thrown out of the student hostel because she chewed the wallpaper.

4. I went to art college after school, to study graphics (mainly illustration), but I found the experience left me with little or no confidence in my work. After college I was unemployed for 18 months and then took a dead-end office job.

5. The only good thing about that dead-end office job was that it led eventually to my meeting Mr Kitsch.

6. I am the youngest of 5 children. I think this is the reason for the next one....

7. I don't have any children and have never wanted to for a moment. You can go off families, when there are seven people in the house! (And my family are all as mad as badgers!)

8. I also never wanted to get married. Mr Kitsch and I always joked that the only thing that could tempt us, would be an Elvis impersonator in Vegas. When we finally went on holiday to Las Vegas, we decided we would get married, just for a laugh. We couldn't arrange Elvis, though. So we got married in a stretch limo in a drive-thru chapel, dressed in Star Trek uniforms (classic style, of course!), that we'd bought the previous day at the Star Trek Experience.

9. I have collected toys all my adult life. I suspect that toy collectors are trying to regain some kind of perfect childhood they think they missed out on. I think that's probably true for me.

10. I also used to collect 1960s comics. Mainly US comics like Spiderman and Batman, and old romance comics, but I also like British cartoons and comics, like the Beano, Rupert Bear, Giles, and Thelwell. I also love Tintin, the Moomins. Popeye (the old ones), Krazy Kat, Charles Addams, etc. Eventually, I downsized my comic collection and went on to other addictions. (Dolls, kitsch, religious icons, tiki, handbags, jewellery, art & pop culture books, film, TV, vintage china, craft supplies, etc. etc.)

11. Yes, I am addicted to ebay.

12.I HATE windy weather. When I used to walk to work every day, my colleagues knew I would arrive in a foul mood when it was windy. By the time, I'd rescued my scarf twenty times, and got the hair out my eyes a hundred times, I would be effing and blinding at the wind like a crazy bag-lady!

13. My hair has not been its natural colour since I was about 19.

14. I am deaf in one ear

15. For a short time, in the early 1990s, Mr Kitsch and I (unsuccessfully) ran a comedy club in Bristol. Our compere was a student called Simon Pegg. Yes, that Simon Pegg, later of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and How to Lose Friends...

16. I am a lazy perfectionist. This is a contradictory and stressful combination!

if you've got this far, thanks for reading my random facts. And many thanks to femaletrouble2 for tagging me!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Announcing the winner and my secret shame...

Wow! Huge thanks to all of you who entered my giveaway this week, and so generously shared your various 'failings'. It was nice to know there are others out there who have 'glue issues'. But I have to say that it was particularly reassuring to find that there are several other people out there who share my secret shame of not being able to ride a bike!

I can't say I ever felt the need to ride a bike as a child. I certainly never had one. I seem to remember one of my older brothers having one for a while. I think I tried it for about 5 minutes, got bored with my lack of success, and gave it up as a bad job. So I never learned to ride one, and have never really had the opportunity or motivation since. But it's one of those things that you feel a bit silly about not being able to do. I can't drive, either, but that's a whole other story...

When I told Mr Kitsch that I was going to draw a name out of a hat for this giveaway, he suggested that we get the squirrels in our garden to choose, by putting a peanut on each name slip, and seeing which one they ate first! Tempting though that was, (and a possible photo opportunity too), I just shuffled them on my desk instead...and picked out
A Thrifty Mrs

Congratulations! You've won a special gift of cycle accessories!! No, not really... I'll be sending out your parcel next week, once I get your details.
(I can't promise it will be Monday, as I am at the mercy of a bad back this week. Have you ever seen that Victoria Wood "Two Soups" sketch? Where Julie Walters is the doddery, hunched old waitress who moves at the speed of a tortoise? Well, that's me, that is!)

This picture has nothing to do with the giveaway - my back stopped me sitting at my desk, so I spring-cleaned the bedroom windowsill.

Watch the birdie

At the risk of sounding like a 'twitcher', this weekend is your chance to participate in a wild bird survey in the UK. Just watch the birds in the park, or your own garden for an hour and send in the numbers you see.
Details on the RSPB website.
Mr Kitsch has already done his survey!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


Look at the lovely flowers Mr Kitsch bought me yesterday! He decided I needed cheering up and flowers are one of the most cheerful things I know.

These are particularly good in the cheering up department, as the bunch contains pussy willow, which makes me think of spring. And kittens. Kittens in the spring - what's not to love? I've been stroking those silky, furry buds - like little pussy paws...

The bunch also contains the beautiful spiral buds of purple lisianthus. Well done, Mr Kitsch - you did good!

Mr Kitsch also did good in the Christmas gift-giving. I know! That was nearly a month ago... Well I've finally got round to sharing these photos of some of the little goodies he got me.

Gorgeous mug and pendant from a local ceramicist, Joanna Rose, who uses a mix of retro transfers and her own designs.

Kitschy cat and fawn ornaments and a sweet little tin in the shape of a suitcase, with an illustration of woodland animals playing music in the snow. And it had jelly babies in it! Could it be any cuter??

Some cute vinyl toys and some Hello Kitty little tins of sweets. I was particularly pleased with the green Bamboo Zoo creature by Peskimo as they are from Bristol and they also sell on Etsy. I really like designer vinyl toys, but they have to be just quirky, like these. Some of the ones you see are just a bit aggressive-looking. I can't stand those smoking rabbits and I'm not too keen on Kubricks or Dunnies. (I think some of you may be wondering what I'm talking about, so, moving swiftly on...)

Last but not least, these little cuties from Friends With You, more designer vinyl toys of the cute and quirky kind.

And there was more! I was very spoilt.

Just a quick reminder that it's not too late to enter my fantastic giveaway. Details are on the previous post.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Giving up, giving in, give away

Yay!! My 50th post and I'm doing my first giveaway! I hope lots of people enter, from wherever you are in the world! I don't know what I'll be giving away yet - I'll try to tailor it to whoever wins. Something vintage, something crafty, something I've made, something for inspiration, who knows? I'll explain what I want you do in a minute

First, I have to tell you that I'm thinking of giving up glue. (Yes, I know you're thinking about glue-sniffing now.) No, the reason is, that I started to make assemblages last year (as in the photos above and below), relying very heavily on the old superglue. However, I am a complete klutz with glue. I only have to look at some superglue and my fingers are welded together. I would squeeze out about a millimetre of glue, and then somehow I had it on every finger of both hands! I honestly don't know how it happens, but I always get in a total mess. To protect my hands, I got some of those disposable latex gloves to use when glueing. The fingers of the gloves would get glued together, so I could no longer hold the thing I was making, and I would rapidly take the gloves off and be back to square one!

It's not any better with other types of glue, either. I managed to spill a whole bottle of PVA glue over my desk and the floor recently. I also tried glue dots, but ended up leaning my elbow on a whole sheet of micro-dots. Sigh! I just can't help it. Really you can only trust me with a very small Pritt stick. Even then, I can usually manage to get it in my hair. D'oh!

Mr Kitsch can't understand why I'm not more 'careful' (I'm trying! I'm trying!). He is so neat and tidy with things like this. All those childhood years of glueing together small plastic planes from Airfix kits have given him glue skills that I can only admire with awe. If I need something mended with glue, I go to him and he does a perfect job. Unfortunately, I can't expect him to be on hand while I'm trying to make something creative, just in case I need something glued.
By the light of the moon
I made this collage box for the art trail I did last October, but I haven't really made anything quite like this since then. I think it's my fear of glue putting me off. So I'm giving in and I'm going to try assembling things without glue. Parts of this assemblage were wired together, and in the past I've used sewing and embroidery. So I hope this is the way to go.

So anyway, for the giveaway, I'd like you to leave a comment and let me know if there's anything that you just can't do, like me with the glue. I'll pick a name out of a hat at the end of next week, and send you something lovely (and not too weird - I know not everyone shares my taste!). So please leave a comment by next Friday 23rd January.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Wonderful things

I must admit, in setting up this blog, I have never got around to adding links to my favourite sites, blogs, artists, etc. It's one of those things that I see as a mammoth task. There are so many great places to visit. How do I choose?
One blog I hadn't looked at for a long time, but can thoroughly recommend, is art for housewives, a rather wonderful treasury of links to fantastic art & craft. I found it mentioned on someone else's blog, and it reminded me I hadn't looked there for ages.

Tonight, I found a link on there to the site of Janet Cooper. I'm so excited at finding all this beautiful work.

I feel like she's been through my stash of treasures, added some more I'd like to have, and then fashioned something far more wonderful than I ever could.
quilt by Janet Cooper
All these lovely pictures are her work.

It's all so inspiring, and so much like the work I've been trying to do (but much better!). It's making me want to make something right now!

p.s. As my next blog will be my 50th post, I'm going to have a giveaway. Look out for it in the next couple of days!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

I love my little friends

I could spend hours watching wildlife in our garden. Every breakfast time, and often at other times as well, I sit, watching the comings and goings in our little patch. It's fascinating, entertaining and soul-soothing.

One of the great joys in life is watching a squirrel eat a nut. The photo above is Sammy Short-tail stuffing his little face with a suet block. The bird table is a recent development, intended to deter rats. As you can see, it certainly doesn't deter squirrels, the greedy little so-and-so's! They have their own feeder, full of peanuts, but apparently that's not good enough!

Their other naughty trick is to dig up my plant containers to bury nuts, and then dig it up again a week later to get the peanuts out. If they didn't look so darn cute, patting the earth around with their little paws, I might get cross. As it is, they just make me laugh.

This is a poor photo of Jay-Z, one of the three jays that come to the bird table every day. Before I moved here, I had only ever seen one jay in my whole life. I was so excited the first time one came into the garden. Now they're old friends, and it's pretty casual between us....
Yo, Jay-Z in da house!

To thine own self be true

This is just a quick reflection on my blog. Skip it if you don't like introspection!

I thought long and hard before I wrote that blog about the funeral yesterday. Originally, I intended this blog as a place to share fun things I'd bought/made/collected/seen. So I wondered if I should try to get back to just doing that. Perhaps I should keep my blog just for the happy stuff.

And then I realised that it just wouldn't be me. That's not to say that I want to dwell on the unhappy, but I feel I have to reflect my real life. I've spent lots of time over the years, especially in the workplace, having to edit myself, because I felt uncomfortable with the reactions of others to my 'weirdness' or 'artiness'. So it's important to me now to express myself. And I know that lots of you lovely bloggers out there understand this. Thank you for all your supportive comments, not just yesterday, but over the past few months. Very much appreciated.

Friday, 9 January 2009


We've been to the funeral today of our friend Joe. He died on the 30th December, from pancreatic cancer, at the age of 35.

Mr Kitsch met him about 10 years ago when they were both working on a local radio station, and their shared love of music was a strong bond. Over the years we've had some great times with Joe - he was fun and funny and sweet and warm.

His illness was very sudden. He only started to show symptoms of being unwell last spring, and the diagnosis of cancer did not come until September. Sadly, for various medical reasons, it was not treatable, but we didn't expect his death to come so soon.

I cannot begin to express how sad this all is, and how I feel for his partner, Sarah. But I wanted to mark the day here, and give my own little tribute to this lovely man. We've been remembering him today with lots of smiles and laughter (as well as the tears), because that's what he was all about. Bye, Joe.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Here's one I made earlier...

I made it before Christmas in fact, but I couldn't post a picture on here, as it was a Christmas present for a friend who reads this blog. But now I can show it off. It's a little sewing box, a bit inspired by the Cath Kidston one. I made it in my friend's favourite colours - predominantly browns, with other autumnal colours. Those are pins sticking in the roof - I thought they were so sweet when I found the pins with flowers and leaves on them.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out, as I've never made anything like this before. I didn't have a pattern - I just made it up as I went along.

I'm pretty proud of all the little details, like adding the flower & leaf beads. And I'm so glad to finally have something creative to show you. I feel like I haven't done much lately!