Sunday, October 28, 2007

Trop Belle Pour Toi

I think that was the name of a film Hagos and I went to see years ago when we lived in London, and it came to me when I was photographing my Japanese stationery. Too Beautiful For You, or indeed anyone.
I visited Japan about twelve years ago with my husband's band. I was ostensibly selling the band's merchandise, but in reality the Japanese are so organised I barely had to do anything at all. Which left a lot of time for shopping. I have a thing for stationery anyway but the Japanese stuff is by far the most exquisite I've ever seen. The notelet above came from a pack that had writing paper, notelets, envelopes and stickers. They each had funny little translated phrases on, such as 'Love is one of my important nutritions', and 'I feel so elevated my cheeks are turning pink', and 'There is the time when your heart is warmed up'. So sweet and something slightly lost in translation but all the more potent for it.
I used to do a lot of letter writing, before email became everyday, and I still love getting letters, especially those written on lovely paper in special ink.
Trop Belle Pour Toi surely relates to this beautiful shell and sea paper. And this:
It would have to be someone so special, in such special circumstances, to warrant writing on this.
In fact, the last time I used my Japanese stationery was five years ago, using the set above. It was after Hagos and I got married, and my Aunt Peggy sent us a card and some money afterwards (we got married suddenly with just two witnesses and then told everyone after). My Aunt Peggy was my favourite auntie when I was growing up. She was always good fun to be around and everyone liked her. Because I moved away from home when I was 19 I lost touch with her and didn't see much of her over the years, though I kept up with her news through my mum. So I sent her a heartfelt thank you letter and soon after, next time I was visiting my folks, I went to see her with my mum and sister and we had a really good evening. Soon after Aunt Peggy had a stroke and had to go into a nursing home. I never saw her again. She died about a year later.
Anyway, that's an example of how important a situation it has to be to use the Japanese writing paper! Above are two of the hotels we stayed in when we were in Japan, The Shinjuku Prince and The Osaka Grand. I would love to go back to Japan. It's my number one place I'd like to revisit from all the places I've been. My number one place I'd like to visit from places I haven't been is Iceland. I love remote, cold, mountainous landscapes. And kooky people.

After photographing all of the above today, I tried photocopying the cat writing paper and notelets, and it worked out rather well. So I'll be able to extend the life of one of my writing sets!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

An Adventurous Week....

This week our friends Pete and Lynsey, and their children Nate and J, came to visit from Edinburgh. They stayed in a converted railway station about ten minutes' away. On Monday we went to the Dinosaur Adventure Park, which was much better than I expected. It was really nice to spend the day outside, walking around, seeing dinosaurs (why are children so obsessed by dinosaurs?) and watching the kids running around and climbing and shouting.
I was working three days, but the others went to Banham Zoo one day, and Great Yarmouth model village and Seaworld another. We spent a couple of evenings eating at home, a couple at their station and a couple eating out at Wagamama's and Pizza Express. The kids were keen to stroke and poke and prod Meg, who forbore it all rather well.
We had a couple of evenings playing games once Nate and J had gone to bed. I won at Monopoly, though Hags and I were accused of an illegal move when Hagos gave me a property so I could start building houses and hotels. Then we played Super Cluedo and Lynsey won. Hagos and I are keen games players and are really happy when we come across other people who like playing games too. We both played a lot of board games when we were kids.

It was really nice to see them all for the week. There's something about old friendships that is really comfortable and easy.

Today Hagos and I went into town and did our usual Saturday. I had meant to go into John Lewis and buy some Christmas fabric to make some placemats and coasters, just to satisfy my urge to make something. But we didn't quite have the energy to walk that far, so I think I may use my Kaffe Fassett Paperweight Algae to make one of my Simplicity tops tomorrow/Monday.
And just for posterity: a photo of Pete in his Shirt.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Embroidered Coasters

I finished my coasters today and feel very satisfied with them. I bought the interfacing at John Lewis this afternoon and it only took me about an hour to do all three. I had to unpick my first one as I put the interfacing between the fabric! And only discovered the mistake when I went to turn it inside out. My least favourite is the owl. I think I used the wrong colours. I love the teapot and the cupcake.

I thought of using the Kaffe Fassett paperweight algae (top) for the underneath of all three coasters, then decided to use the scraps from other leftover fabric as well. I think the paperweight algae suits the coasters best though.

John Lewis has really lovely Christmas fabric instore at the moment. At only £5 a metre. I considered buying 1/2 a metre of two or three of them to make Christmas placemats but I'm on an economy drive and decided to leave it for now. I'll probably buy it next week instead. So much lovely fabric in the world!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Holiday, A Great-Nephew and Embroidery

I went home to Scotland at the weekend, returning yesterday. This is my view from the plane. I flew to Glasgow, which is much more pleasant than getting the train. I had a really nice time with my family and got to see my great-newphew, Keigan, again: I love this expression. And his smile: He has a lot of people caring for him, which is really sweet to see. Everyone adores him.I took some embroidery and knitting to do when I was up there. I'm planning to make these into coasters, from the pattern in bend-the-rules-sewing. I think they'll be fun to have around. I quite like the material I'm using. It's plain greenish cotton, which I got from John Lewis fairly cheaply. I thought about buying more to make one of my tops, with long sleeves this time, and embroidering it with something. Not quite sure what yet. I considered random embroidery all over, or cakes along the bottom, or cats or polar bears. We'll see! When I went to the station to book my ticket up to Glasgow for the flight back, I walked past this old building: Ewart Library, where I used to go every Saturday morning for a new book to read. Just inside the entrance is a huge marble staircase and a very shiny handrail. I loved walking up to the children's section, and the sound of the echoes inside the place.

My nephew's girlfriend, Dayna, is an illustrator. Check out her website here. There's a really good caricature of my sister and her husband, with their dog, Spike. Jacqueline has a bottle of Champagne in her hand, and Robin has a bottle of whisky in his.

Well that's all for now. I was really pleased to see Hagos and Meg when I got home. And I'm looking forward to the Haggarty weekend.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Christmas at Reepham Station

I went to Reepham Station today to blow away the cobwebs, and these are some of the delights I found in the Christmas section:
How lovely.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Births, Deaths, Mittens and Biscuits

The last time I went to Scotland to see my parents, my dad gave me this. My birth registration. He found it in a drawer when he was looking for something else and, as I was coming to visit, kept it out for me to see. My mother told him I wouldn't be interested in it but I think it's amazing. I love the record keeping of people's lives. Its pristine condition, after thirty nine years, is an indication of how orderly my parents are.

I've been watching Who Do You Think You Are, re-runs on TV recently. Natasha Kaplinsky and Stephen Fry both had ancestors who were murdered by the Nazis, poor souls. It's fascinating what people uncover though, and the documents and registers that still exist to tell the story. I'd love to know more about my ancestors. My mother comes from a huge family of 'Black Douglases' (Douglas pronounces 'Dooglis'). All very dark haired, gypsy looking. And my dad's surname of Main, which I rarely come across, except when there's a story about fishermen in Aberdeen and then the spokesperson seems to always be called Main. I think my cousin David did some research recently on my father's side of the family, so I should really get in touch with him (to save myself some effort).Without giving too much away: this will either be my 'make it Secret Santa' or a Christmas present for a friend. I haven't decided yet. This is the second mitten. Of course, I can't reveal the first.And finally, a photo of HERSELF. Hagos squished some mouse entrails between his toes this morning when he came down to the bathroom. Yuck. The DVDs, which we keep beside the TV on the floor, were scattered, and the fireside rug was scrunched up as if a furry animal had skidded into it. No other animal parts were to be found, so we assumed she'd eaten the rest of the poor wee creature. Those paws are probably the last thing many a mouse sees before it's chewed.

I'm thinking of starting a 'past life' strand on here. When I don't have any knitting or sewing to show I'll dig something out from my life and wander down memory lane.

Must go now though. I've promised Hagos I'll go to the shop and buy lemon biscuits and make a cup of tea.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cake, Sardines, 70s Husband

It was Katy's birthday a couple of weeks ago and I promised I'd make her chocolate muffins. Only problem was, out of all my recipe books I didn't have one recipe for chocolate muffins. So I made the decision to merge my 'glukk' cake recipe (quite a gooey, liquid cake mix) and, basically, muffin cases. The result: rather a flat little delicious chocolate cake x 20. I took most of them into work for Katy/the table, and Hagos and I finished off the last three tonight!
Yesterday I met Mo and Bev in Cafe 33 for lunch. I parked at work and walked along the river to the cafe. It was such a beautiful, fresh sunny morning.
This is the Sardine Mountain. Meg loves the 'Oh So Fishy' range of Whiskas, but doesn't like the Sardine flavour. And this is the result. Today I put a notice on our police notice board (online) selling 15 pouches for £1.50, a real bargain. I immediately got four replies (one from Bethany at the end of my desk) so I've sold 60 pouches. Now, of course, I wish I'd put it on for a bit more money. Frankly though, I just wanted to be rid of it. The kitchen cupboard is being taken over by unwanted cat food.

And finally, I have to upload this photo of my husband. He likes to dress up when going through customs: