Saturday 28 February 2009

It's Saturday and we've no obligations for the whole weekend which is a rare thing in our busy lives. So we've decided to visit one of our localish art galleries and wallow in some cultural delights this morning. In Salford which is just a stone's throw from the centre of Manchester we're lucky enough to have the excellent Lowry arts centre which has many galleries and three great theatre spaces. For some reason I have yet to see a production there and really don't get to the galleries as often as I should but today we shall. There are two photography exhibitions on, one is A Long Exposure: 100 Years of Guardian Photography and another which was recommended to us by a photographer friend and I see from the website that there's also a show about pop-ups which should be great fun. Just over the river is the stunning Imperial War Museum North which was designed by Daniel Libeskind and is really impressive.

And to add to all the swirling creativity I had an email this morning telling me that I was featured in this splendid Treasury:

Follow your bliss....
by Pacific Meditation Beads

I love the combination of the turquoise and red, it's one of my favourites which you can possibly tell as there are two of my pictures here! I'm not usually a fan of photographs with added text, but how could I not love this fabulous kitty pic by Free Mind Shop?

photo $15

I'm going to lower some of my prices as an experiment, my sales have dropped right off since Xmas and as I'm getting plenty of Treasuries, heart etc I know it's not because people don't like my work so I'm wondering if the change in exchange rates has had an impact on my prospective customers shopping budgets?

Friday 27 February 2009

Front Page!

'Corks' has been knocking around in the Dad's Gift Guide for a while now and therefore appearing fleetingly on the Front Page according to Google Analytics, which is nice, but no way as gratifying as a 'real' FP like this one!

by Happyment

Happyment's got some great colourful goodies in her shop - I've mentioned before that I'm always amazed at the many uses for felt which I see on Etsy and these are no exception. The brooches she makes are pure fun and happy - as the shop name suggests! I love this one:

Black and White Flower Brooch $11

From the Treasury I am particular attracted to these lovely plates by Jenny Blasen Pottery - they remind me of my trip to Japan last year, where we saw some very striking ceramics.

Bamboo Trinket Plates $10

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Wow, twice in one evening!

The other day it was all Path Through Moss, today it's Ministry of Silly Walks with another Treasury showing, it's the print this time.

woo hoo fab!
by Krystyna81

Krystyna's one talented artist, her shop is fantastic. I'm a great fan of original art, with a big collection of paintings at home of all types but for some reason I don't really look at 'serious' art on Etsy *ducks to avoid sharp objects being hurled across continents in my general direction*, I've never really thought about it, but I suppose I'm always looking at other photographers and never browse the painting and drawing sections. I should really, there's such a lot of great work out there just waiting to be discovered. I love this piece from her shop, it really appeals to me - I love mixed media, I think it's that the variety of textures, levels and finishes really hold my interest - it's also great to see an artist putting decent prices on their work, there's really not enough of that on Etsy.

Silly Walks, White Lions and Tasty Earrings.

There's a really great stream of Treasuries at the moment and the old favourite Ministry of Silly Walks is in this one. It's seriously ecclectic and full of fun things.

by Huismus

I adore these beads - I have no idea what I'd do with them as I've never been inclined to make jewellery and tend to avoid things involving needles and thread (early childhood mental and fashion scarring in Sewing Classes put me off for life) but they are gorgeous. I used to spend some of my pocket money at the Bead and Button Shop in Convent Garden a million years ago purely for the pleasure of rummaging around in the little treasure chests lined up on the shelves. I'd add them to my button jar and periodically take them out and just look.

Chunky Large Hole Wooden Beads by The Royal Bead Treasure

And the biscuit earrings are just so sweet - not to mention the rest of Misty Aurora's shop, the earring are positively edible.

Yummy Cookie Hearts Stud Earrings by Misty Aurora

And I'm totally awestruck by the lion - how on earth was this captured?

Lone Tree

I've been playing with my 'vintage look' treatment again and this time I've revisited photos taken in Spain probably eight years ago when I was snapping everything which stood still for long enough with my very first digital camera. It was a Pentax Optio S and was so tiny that I carried it in an Altoids tin! It did me proud for years until I felt that I needed an upgrade. The holiday was a roadtrip and after an overnight ferry crossing to Cherbourg and our first night in considerable comfort and green in a Chateau we drove through France stopping off in La Rochelle for moules frites overlooking the harbour and by sundown we'd reached the Spanish border. After getting fantastically lost trying to find our Parador for the night we relaxed and plotted the rest of our trip. We were in Spain for two weeks, just the northern strip and had a fantastic time, I think we covered about 5,000 miles and saw plains, sea, forest and lots of art and ate some seriously good food. I'm going to enjoy sifting through these old pictures.

Many shades of blue.

Here's a really pretty blue Treasury featuring my Brown on Blue print, I think that it fits in rather well.

Bluesy Mix, Chance of Peacock
by Isette

Isette has some great jewellery in her shop, it's bold and simple which I really like and I think that this ampersand necklace is just my sort of thing as I'm a bit of a typography fan:

The Treasury has really nice mixture of items and I think that this pretty purse by La Vita Lola is my favourite item, it's not my usual taste, but it just appeals with it's jolly colours and dramatic print.

Blue and Yellow Peacock clutch - lined in gold silk $55

I went to the church and hotel where I'm shooting a wedding in a couple of weeks to do a recce yesterday, the church was closed, but I managed to get into the suite at the hotel and I think it should be okay. It's nicely decorated with a spacious light bar area and a lovely private garden with some steps which might do for the group pictures - there's only about 30 guests so not too many to herd around. The dining room's a little gloomy and they're not sitting down to eat until 6.30pm so I'm a little concerned about the light levels. I'll definitely need a tripod. But then they don't really want many pictures of the dining room and don't want me to shoot the meal or speeches, so fingers crossed that it will be a nice sunny day and a bright evening for long enough for me to get the place settings, cake etc....

I'm going back to the church today in a little bit with all my lenses to have a bit of a practice shoot.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Old or New?

I've been having fun with a great distressed texture from Flickr, this one's a scruffy old piece of board which looks just like a thick vintage postcard and I thought that it would work well with this temple photo which I took in Kyoto last year. I'm really pleased with the result and I'll have a go with some more as I think they'll make really interesting prints.

Monday 23 February 2009

Green is obviously the colour of choice at the moment.

It's certainly been a good day for my Eyeshoot photos with this, my fourth Treasury today and a second outing for Path Through Moss (I still haven't sold one though.....)

I knew if I waited enough
by Seymour Chevrons

There's a really lovely collection of greens here and a nice spread of items too, jewellery, art, ceramics with a scarf too. I think my favourite is this lovely pendant by Adorn Jewelry

Set in Stone, Moss Pendant

I've been working on an interesting new style using one of my Japanese temple photos, the Photoshopping is hurting my brain right now, so I think I'll give it a break for the night and face it again tomorrow when hopefully I'll be able to post some examples.

And another!

It's been a busy day on the Treasury front. And I'm spending far too much time blogging them all, but now I feel guilty if I don't!

CeeGee is from Cheshire which is just down the road from where I live in South Manchester, it's always nice to see local people being active on such an international site - it's also her first every Treasury! I really like this pretty necklace made of Stirling silver and lovely cool green aquamarine

The Power of Green.

Here's another Treasury today with my Path Through Moss print which seems to be popular with curators - it must be the greeness, there always seem to be quite a few green flavoured Treasuries around. I'm not complaining, the exposure is always lovely!

The Secret Garden
by Finch Bird
Finch Bird's shop has some lovely, simple silver jewellery. I'm a great fan of simple but 'big' jewellery, I'm just not made for delicate wafty pieces as they either get caught in my hair and drive me mad, or just get in the way generally. I think that this chunky solid sterling silver ring is my favourite,

Untitled $85

From now to the end of February 50% of every sale will go to the Red Cross Australian Bushfire Appleal which can only be a good thing and persuade more people to treat themselves.

From the Treasury, I think that my favourite piece is this lovely bowl by Bridgeman Studios. I used to do pottery at school a million years ago and have very fond memories of making various things, often with not too much success! I studied for my degree in Stoke on Trent which used to be the centre of the world's pottery industry (now sadly almost gone) and there was a massive ceramics department at the university which I found fascinating.

A tasty Treasury.

Here's a nicely original foodie Treasury featuring my Restaurant Kasabah print for the first time. I wasn't really sure about this print, but decided to list in in my shop anyway. At least one person likes it!

The Irreverent Chef
by dsingleterry

I really like the mixture of subject matter with the Anthony Bourdin print, all the tasty food right down to the nasty cigarettes in their ashtray (not allowed here in the UK any more thank goodness)

Tuesday 17 February 2009

A display of doors.

Ada Rosman who featured Blue Door in Blue Wall in a fabulously exotic globe trotting Treasury the other day has done it again this time with a selection of doors from around in which she's included my print again! I think that's a first for me, to have the same curator choose the same print twice in less than a week.

Doors from around the world
by Ada Rosman

I've always had a soft spot for doors and have masses in my collection of photos from my travels here and there. Perhaps I should revisit some of them......

From the Treasury I particularly like Weathered by Photo Rebecca, I'd not come across her shop before on Etsy and she's some lovely grungy door photos in her shop, some are remarkably similar to the kind of scenes which catch my eye, such as this great image:

Monday 16 February 2009

I do Like to be Beside the Seaside - non wintery Treasury

I thought it was time to get another Treasury completed and my thoughts turned towards the seaside. I usually pay a visit to one of my nearby seaside towns in the depth of winter, but don't seem to have managed it so far this year. I must make an effort, but it's been so cold and cold and wind aren't really conducive photography conditions. So here's my homage to the seaside

Missed Front Page

I've just spotted on my Etsy Analytics on Google that something from Eyeshoot was on the front page on 11th Feb. It's very nice to know and it's very clever that it can, but I don't now what the item was! It's not showing up in the Etsy Front Pager's group of Flickr which ususally has everything and I don't recall and spike in views/hearts which usually result from a Front Page. Perhaps it was in the middle of the night for the American audience.....Perhaps I'll find out sometime, it's a shame not to know.

Saturday 14 February 2009

Goodies from The Beauty Bible

I've long been a fan of The Beauty Bible which is a fabulous resource for any fan of quality beauty products which I certainly am. In a recent email newsletter they were asking for new testers for their forthcoming book and for £30 I thought I'd give it a go. My spending on bathroom unguents has plummeted in my recently and seemingly never ending financially limited times so and I've been doing okay on cheap and cheerful stuff - Liz Earl Hot Cloth Cleanser - discovered by reading the Beauty Bible a few years ago, this has since then been my second choice cleanser (£12) instead of Eve Lom (£45+), Tesco's brilliant Barbra Daly foundation (£6) instead of Chanel (£25) (unless I've enough Boots Advantage Points to get one for 'nothing'), Boots moisturiser (£4) and eye cream (£6) instead of Bliss (£45)(£25), I've always used pretty bog standard hair stuff but have found that Boots basics hair serum for £1.99 does just as good a job as all the designer stuff I'd spend £6-7 on and it's in a plastic bottle which I much prefer. And my face hasn't dropped off yet but I do really miss the lovely packaging and the feel of the expensive liquids and creams, the subtle fragrances and the lovely shallow satisfaction of seeing all that lovely stuff lined up in my bathroom cabinet. So I decided that I could do with a bit of a daily treat and pamper and thought that I put myself forward as a tester. My parcel of goodies arrived today and here's what it contained:

I was obviously delighted to find a small pot of Eve Lom Cleanser to which I've been addicted to for since it first existed and have been missing out on as I mentioned earlier, it's now well out of my budget, so hurrah! Then there's the Kheil's Creme de Corps which I've used in the past and was delighted to see - its great stuff. There's an organic dry hair mask, some organic shimmer powder, a weird looking clear moisturiser, a skin brightener which smells lovely, a Ruby and Millie lipstick which looks very wearable, a vile Rimmel lilac eyeliner and a lip pencil in an everyday nude colour. Oh, and some skin, hair and nail food supplements. I used to take up to ten vitamin and mineral capsules/pills a day, so the four a day here will be child's play.

My first reactions are that it's a good batch and it would be worth it if just for the Eve Lom and Kheils. I'm no fan of skin brighteners and hair masks never really work for me, but I'm looking forward to giving them all a good going over. I have yet to receive the paperwork for noting my thoughts and findings, so I am resisting using them apart from a bit of a dabble this morning. A very nice gift to find waiting for me on Valentine's Day!

Travel With Me

Travel with Me
By Ada Rosman

My Blue Door in Blue Wall print has turned up yet again in a Treasury, it must have something in the tags which makes it pop up so often in curator's searches. Which is fine by me. There are some lovely travel photographs here, and I'm particularly fond of this lovely turbaned gent by Sarka Trager - the colour is just wonderful and he's such a interesting face. The colours of India really intrigue me, I've never been but perhaps one day I'll get there when I feel that I can fact the heat.....

Red Turban by SarkaTrager

I was supposed to be going on a Mediterranean cruise in the early summer where we were to spend two days in Venice. I am now no longer going and will sorely miss the opportunity to take some classic Venetian photographs, so I shall satisfy myself with this one in the meantime!

Venetian Pigeonsby lightofsomekind

Anyway, this is a great collection by Ada Rosman who has a shop full of jewellery of which this is my favourite and is definitely worth a look.

Thursday 12 February 2009

Small White Framed Prints

I've found some nice and simple white square frames which are perfect for my Viewfinder shots. They measure 17cm x 17cm and are just 1cm deep, they're glazed with acrylic so they're nice and light to post. The cost of postage has always bothered me previously, so these are perfect. They look lovely as as set and can stand, hang or lean. I've just listed them in Eyeshoot Squared, they're only $30 each. Here are some pictures:

Miso Soup

I've just made miso soup for my lunch. It took me about seven minutes and was divine. I really don't know why people say that they "don't have time" to cook.

Here's how on this particular occasion.

All quantities are according to what you fancy at the time and how greedy you're feeling. The only really important thing is to make sure your noodles are cooked, raw noodles are not nice and spoil the miso induced glow of satisfaction.

Fill the bowl you want to eat from with water twice and put into saucepan.
Add sprinkling of Dashi stock powder (made from bonito flakes and kombu seaweed)
Add finely chopped garlic and ginger
Add as many thin soba noodles as you fancy
Bring to a healthy boil for about three minutes
Add whatever greens you like - my preference is for broccoli, cut into small and even pieces including the stalk
Meanwhile, put a heaped tablespoon of miso paste (I like the dark brown pasted made with barley or brown rice) into your bowl and add some of the hot stock, mix until combined.
When the greens and soba are as you like them, switch off the heat and add the miso.
Stir and add baby spinach leaves
Crumble some toasted nori seaweed on top
Find your chopsticks, spoon and napkin
Eat and be revived.

Okay, I'll admit that you need a larder stocked with a few specialist ingredients, but once they're in there, you'll never go hungry and the miso lasts forever in the fridge. Don't even think about buying instant miso powder, it's the work of the devil. This soup is great with some finely sliced meat, fish or a few prawns, if you're of a vegan persuasion, omit the dashi stock and add tofu and beansprouts, some sliced red chilli is good and a few coriander leaves if you're really going to town.


BIG man GARY, originally uploaded by multum in parvo..

I always get a little thrill whenever I see one of these, it's a pretty rare occurrence and it makes me happy. This was on a roundabout I used to drive past pretty frequently and it's been my most fertile ground for Birthday Banners for years now, I suppose it's because it's on a busy route but not so busy that the person leaving the banner will be run over. Now I don't really go that way any more and have to make a particular effort to do so every so often, but yesterday on my way to mum's for lunch I did and was duly rewarded. I often wonder why there aren't more of these around.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Indian Food through the ages. My ages.

I always hated Indian food when I was growing up. We had it rarely, but my dad liked a curry occasionally and we'd go to our local in Stanmore in North West London, it was called the Agra Tandoori which I (rather unkindly) called The Agro - I was only a brat, less then ten I think. I'd just have something English, probably an omelette. Then I was shipped off to boarding school and we had 'curry' occasionally and as far as I can recall it involved mince or chicken, raisins and even the odd bit of pineapple. Now can you see why I wasn't exactly keen. So I lived quite happily in ignorance of Indian food until I went to university in Stoke on Trent where if you wanted to eat out there wasn't really much choice apart from the mysterious (to me at the time) Balti houses with Al Sheik's being the chain I recall going to most frequently. I began to go there with friends who were more experienced in the Balti business than I so I learned from them. I did always fear the chicken and meat doubting it's provenance so I generally had vegetarian with the odd forkful of someone elses. It was good grub. I do recall one good friend of mine who I ate out with regularly always accompanied his meal with banana milkshake! Over the three years and for one or two afterwards I have very happy memories of some great times.

Then Manchester and the joys of Curry Mile or Rusholme as it's more correctly known. My mum and I used to go to a cafe type called Eastern Touch which was the best kind really, just simple stuff and a small selection. Then when I met Peter I found out that it was his favourite too. Indian still wasn't something I'd ever choose for a meal, I'd always prefer Chinese, Turkish or Italian but it was getting better. Anyway, fast forward 15 years or so and I'm a seasoned Indian Food Eater although I'm still very fussy and often will only have the vegetarian dishes if it's a restaurant I don't know or haven't chosen myself. Our absolute favourite is a cheap and modest little place called Al Faisals in the trendy Northern Quarter, it's not much to look at, but they do the best, freshest chicken tikka ever and served with some plain rice, salad and chickpeas I think it would count as one of my desert island dishes. We're generally found there on a Saturday with assorted friends having a mini feast with the aforementioned chicken tikka as well as the hot hot hot spicy lamb tikka, mince kebabs and the vegetable curry too. Did I mention it's as cheap as chapatis with it being very tricky to spend more than £5. There's no booze, just plastic jugs of water on the table or cans. I love to cook Indian food, but usually it's vegetables and pulses and sometimes I get a real craving for the rich soothing flavours of the cumin, coriander, ginger and chili. The other day I came across a recipe which just hit the spot for me and I've cooked it tonight. Here it is copied word for word from The Guardian website:

The new vegetarian - Yotam Ottolenghi's favourite way to stave off the cold
Spiced lentils with cucumber yogurt

Photograph: Colin Campbell
This chill breaker is the ultimate antidote to any seasonal malady; I could eat mountains of it. Serve as a thick soup, or alongside plain rice or roti. Serves two to four.
200g split red lentils
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 small onion, peeled
40g ginger, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 mild green chilli
1½ tsp black mustard seeds
4 tbsp sunflower oil
1½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp paprika
10 curry leaves
300g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tsp caster sugar
½ tsp fenugreek (optional)
1 pinch asafoetida (optional)
150g Greek yogurt
75g finely diced cucumber
1½ tbsp olive oil
70g unsalted butter
1½ tbsp lime juice
Wash the lentils in plenty of water, drain and soak in 350ml of fresh water for 30 minutes. Cut the coriander bunch somewhere around its centre to get a leafy top half and a stem/root bottom half. Roughly chop the leaves. Put the stem half in the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli - all roughly broken - and pulse a few times to chop up without turning into a paste.
Put the mustard seeds in a heavy-based pot and place over medium heat. When they begin to pop, add the onion mix and sunflower oil, stir and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add the spices and curry leaves, and continue cooking and stirring for five minutes longer. Now add the lentils and their soaking water, the tomatoes, sugar, fenugreek, asafoetida and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are fully cooked.
Before serving, whisk together the yogurt, cucumber, oil and some salt. Stir into the lentils the butter, lime juice and chopped coriander leaves, taste and season generously with salt. Divide into bowls, spoon yogurt on top and garnish with coriander.
Now this is me again - I can't resist messing with recipes and this one is no exception. I've only just finished cooking it to the 'lentils are fully cooked' stage and it's switched off waiting for later. I'm going to stir in a couple of big handfuls of baby spinach leaves and also some tiny little pink prawns. I think that served with some lovely basmati rice it will be the perfect healthy, nutritious dish for a cold miserable night.
It was delicious and this is what my version looks like:

Monday 9 February 2009

Out of a massive Treasury list, I've found this one:

Softly Does It
by Crafted Gems

A very ecclectic selection with (amongst other things) my little card, jewellery, soap, a lovely bag a nice frock and a very nice little tweed purse. I have a bit of a soft spot for tweed!

Sunday 8 February 2009

Blue Beachcombings
by Nemeton

I haven't got time to write about this properly now, but will do later!

Thursday 5 February 2009

Snow torture, Morocco, Street Music

It's snowing again this morning and for the second time this week the BBC have been gleefully reporting the downfall of the nation's education and transport systems as millions of school kids are thrilled with the prospect of another day off. Mind you, when I was at school and it snowed there was no staying in bed as it was a boarding school and although lessons may have been off we were duly shoved out into the snow. For hours and hours. I recall on one occasion they actually locked the doors and we could sense the teachers closeted in their cosy staff rooms drinking tea from those odd green teacups and stuffing them selves with biscuits round the fire. It was always fun for a bit but as we wore archaic uniforms with cloaks rather than fleecy anoraks we were always half frozen and draped in sodden wool after a couple of hours. We used to get a small revenge by constructing massive snowballs and snow men in the middle of the lacrosse pitch, firmly compacted so that they would last for weeks after the Big Thaw and really pissed off the rather fierce games mistress. I think that's why I like the snow so much now. I only have to go out into it if I so desire and I can be as wrapped up as I wish.

Anyway, back to the creative arts and as far away from half arsed English snow as we can get with this lovely blue and exotic Treasury which greeted me this morning:

World Travelers
by South American Traveler

South American Traveler has a shop full of very nice travel photos and for some reason hasn't sold any.....anyway, here's my favourite one:

There are some real gems in the selection with a few distinctly Moroccan photos and as you may have noticed, I do have a mild obsession with Morocco and it's always great to see how others see a place you love. I also really like the musicians in the bottom left by Sol Design, it's a lovely real depiction of street music although I'd say that at $3 is sorely underpriced.

Tuesday 3 February 2009

Morocco revisited

I'm still having fun revisiting my old Morocco photos (well not that old, just from 2007, but it does seem like a million years ago) and here's today's offering:

No snow, Soviet posters, gorgeous Treasury

The Big Snow Event was fun yesterday, I went to the Cemetery to take some snaps. The pictures were terrible but I had a lovely walk on soft virgin snow. Very pretty.

Today it's all gone and it's nice and sunny and you'd never know from my windows that the country was at a standstill yesterday.

I've sold two lots of Soviet Posters in the last couple of hours which is nice but they are a bugger to post as I don't want to go out to buy tubes as they're a rip off, so I think I'll make nice sturdy flat parcels with my various offcuts which are at home. Recycling is the thing after all.

Anyway, the good old Ministry of Silly Walks print is in a really wonderul Treasury this morning, very different from the ones we see most of the time. There's a real 'fine art' look to the selections and the overall appearance is very rich and full of skillfully put together colours.

Luminous Beautiful
by Doom Gloom Boom

Doom Gloom Boom has some very interesting and creative assemblage/collage/print pieces in his shop, it's really quite different from what I've seen a lot of on Etsy. These pieces really stand out for me:

Love Jazz, man. print LIMITED 1 of 5

ORIGINAL Boy and Girl n' Fantastical Adventuring

There are some great pieces in the Treasury and I'm really going to enjoy visiting lots of new shops.