Tuesday 30 June 2009

Featured and Another Unloved Sofa.

I've been featured over on Silky Prudence's lovely blog in a post inspired by the Great British Seaside - all the featured pieces are from sellers on Folksy - the UK's very own handmade showcase!

Click right here to have a look!

Here's another abandoned grungy sofa for your visual delights - I've tweaked it in Lightroom with an excellent Preset by X-Equals who has a whole range of really subtle and clever Presets which can be yours from his website for the grand price of absolutely nothing!

Sourdough 4c

After the spectacular rise of the starter on it's second day, it fell right back to where it had started from and this morning looked a little sad. The instructions for this morning were a little different:

Discard half the starter - this part always hurts, throwing all that lovely (and not inexpensive) organic flour down the plughole.
Add one cup of cold water and 150g flour (which I made up of a random mix of white and rye)
Mix and store.

Same again tomorrow and according to the book for a week, but I don't fancy waiting for that long so will do doubt bake earlier. It sometimes seems in this process that more time is spent faffing with flour and water and watching bubbles than actually baking and eating the bread!

Monday 29 June 2009

Have a Seat

originally uploaded by Eyeshoot Photography.

I found this unloved armchair lurking in the wastelands near Piccadilly Station a couple of weekends ago and took some snaps with my iPhone, which were of course, terrible. I had my camera with me on my way out of town on Sunday and remembered to pass by again and snap it properly.

There's an unexpected beauty to it.

Sourdough 4b

After a day of doing practically nothing, my starter obviously leapt into action as soon as I turned my back and went to bed because when I checked it before going to the gym at about 8.30 it had most definitely doubled in size and was bubbly, light and frothy. Hurrah!

So instead of making an early start on the treadmill I did what I had to do:

30g Organic whole rye flour
120g Organic strong white flour
250ml (1 cup) spring water at 40 degrees

All in a bowl and attacked with my electric hand whisk for about five mins.
In to the plastic tub, lid on.

Off to the gym for a run and some weights!

Added at 11.00
Back from the gym and it's all action on the shelf after just 2.5 hours.

Sunday 28 June 2009

Sourdough 4a

As I've managed to kill off my previously productive starter, I've started all over again.

I'm using the recipe in the River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Steven which seems to be a nice no nonsense series of instructions. He was also on the telly last week with his jar of lively starter and an inexperienced baker who took to sourdough like a duck to water which all seemed very encouraging to this inexperienced baker!

So here's what I did:
150g Organic whole rye flour
250ml (1 cup) spring water at 40 degrees

All in a bowl and attacked with my electric hand whisk for about five mins.
In to the plastic tub, lid on.

Have a look before bed.

If it's happy and bubbling, repeat as above.

Sourdough 3

RIP Sourdough 3.

My starter appears to have stopped.......

I'll have to buy some more rye flour today and start all over again.

Saturday 27 June 2009

Sourdough 3 - part c

My attempt to revive my starter failed.....it bubbled a bit which seemed to be a reasonable amount after the first feeding after over a month in the fridge, but after the second feeding it did nothing at all. By yesterday afternoon it had developed a layer of hooch about half a centimeter from the top which looked rather sinister. I was thinking about what I'd done differently this time and came up with four factors. First and I suspect most importantly was that I used warm tap water instead of heating up bottled water, second, I heated it by 'eye' not by thermometer, thirdly, it's a lot hotter now than it was for Sourdough Two, and finally and I'm sure insignificantly, I kept the 'refreshed' starter in the kitchen rather than above my desk.

This morning, I've (hopefully) revived it again by doing the following:
  • Discarding a good proportion of the inactive goo, including everything above and including the mysterious floating layer of hooch.
  • Transferring half a cup of clean starter to a clean bowl.
  • Giving it a damn good beating with a wire whisk.
  • Heating one cup of bottled water to 40degrees.
  • Adding water and one cup of organic white bread flour (I've run out of rye) to the bowl.
  • Thoroughly mixing starter, water and flour until it looked lovely and smooth and smelled really quite nice.
  • Poured into a clean plastic tub, level marked (thank you again Mr Postman), lid attached and placed on my lucky shelf above my desk.
Now I wait and in 12 hours do the following - without discarding any starter add two cups of water and two cups of flour (inconveniently twelve hours will be at around 23.00 tonight when I'll be in bed, so I may do it at about 9pm which is a more sociable time if I'm working in 12 hour shifts). This sounds like a lot of flour to me, I think I may have added too much this morning. I'll try and remember to start off smaller next time!

Thursday 25 June 2009

Two new summer florals.

We visited friends a couple of weeks ago who have the most gorgeous English country garden and I happened to have my camera with me and couldn't resist having a nosy around to see what I could find. The garden was sightly past it's best, but in my humble non-gardening opinion I thought it looked great. For some reason I've only just got around to sorting through the images and I've made two into prints.

On the Sourdough 3 front, there was a bit of action with my refreshed starter and I've fed it with half a cup each of rye flour and water this morning. That's the end of my rye so I'm hoping that continuing with plain flour from now on won't cause any problems.

I'm off to town with mum in a bit, she's got an appointment at the Apple Store to chat about buying a shiny new iMac as her old pc has died a death and is so slow as to be dysfunctional. After that we're doing some surveys, for me, it will be the first time in a year and I've actually got to do the work and draw the plans and stuff rather than just pointing the laser measurer and shouting out the numbers......my brain is in a panic as I haven't used it for so long, but it means I'll be earning money per survey which will make a nice change from the genteel poverty into which I seem to be sliding!

Other job news - a friend owns a busy, popular and super trendy cafe in Manchester which is going through some changes and he'd like me to be involved in some sort of advisory role on the kitchen and staff sides. I couldn't tell much from a very quick and vague conversation yesterday, but their new man is going to give me a call so that he can tell me what he'd want me to do. Could be interesting.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Sourdough 3.

It's sourdough time again!

I rather hesitantly opened my abandoned starter's tub to find a layer of hooch which had gone slightly opaque and filmy on the top, but once I'd poured that away, the remaining starter smelled great, so it's had a nice time in my fridge and has been keeping itself healthy which is nice to know.

I poured it into a bowl and gave it a bit of a whisk to get it moving and introduce some air and them added the starter's volume in rye flour and warm water (tap water this time, there was no bottle at home) and whisked it up and poured into it's tall plastic tub with a lid. I've marked the level with a red rubber band (thank you again, Mr Postman) and I'll see what happens. It's much warmer weather now, with the temperature at 27 above my desk.

I want to try the no-knead method this time where it gets cooked in a lidded pot, a friend has raved about this technique (for regular bread though, not sourdough) so I think I'll have to do a bit of research online as there's no mention of this method in my books.

Thursday 18 June 2009

Have a Seat

., originally uploaded by Eyeshoot Photography.

Posted just because I like it!

Black and White in Blackpool

I've been revisiting some old Blackpool photos and have re-tweaked this one to a stark and simple monochrome image, it's lovely and wintery and I like the way that the pale sky blends into the border.

Now, of course, available in my Etsy Shop!

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Springing into Summer. Apparently

A bright green and summery Treasury this morning.

Spring into Summer
by Sherry Truitt

Emma's shop's great, full of quirky jewellery pieces using various vintage finds like spirit levels, maps and compasses. I particularly like this one:

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Long time no blog!

It's been a whole six days since I last blogged - a recent record I think.

Since then the Etsy Yart Sale has been and gone and I sold two full price prints and a digital collage sheet, neither featured in the Sale, so it was better for me as I didn't have to knock 50% off anything! I also made a sale on Folksy after being there for just a few days, so I was, as you can imagine, a happy bunny. No sales since though!

We had a great weekend out and about in very fine weather in Manchester. We had our traditional Saturday lunch at Al Faisal's with Adam (chicken and lamb tikka, kofta kebabs, chick peas, rice and salad which were, as usual totally delicious and stupidly priced at less than £15 for all three of us).

Sunday saw us and three chums at the famous Gorton Monastery which was listed in the 100 most endangered sites in the world and has recently been saved from total collapse and ruin but vast sums of money and it's all very fascinating.

Plenty more photos on my Flickr.

From there we continued the cultural theme and went to the Whitworth Art Gallery for lunch at the excellent cafe (we did have a look around afterwards to walk off the splendid brownies). I had a very nice bruschetta with feta, new season courgettes, peas and mint followed by a wicked brownie and pot of tea.

Then the cultural tour continued as we navigated our way over to the back of beyond near Picadilly station to visit the Rogue Artist's Studio Open Day for which we'd picked up a flyer at the Whitworth. It was in the scuzziest, grottiest, most mouldering mill I've seen for a while and it inevitably unleashed a photographing frenzy in all of us, so much so that we missed most of the show inside as it (rather irritatingly) closed early as it was Sunday. More fun outside I think!

Wednesday 10 June 2009

I'm having a Yart Sale in my Etsy Shop

I've seen the rather unattractive word 'yart' touted around for a bit now and had no inclination to find out what it was all about as often all of the hysterical postings in the Promotions Thread on the Etsy Forums tend to make my eyes bleed, but my resistance was low earlier and I did some reading.

So the Etsy Yart Sale is an Etsy wide promotion which runs from 10th to 14th June and basically you can apply any promotion to the goods in your shop - free postage, 10% off, buy one get one free etc....My offering is "buy one of the prints in the Yart Sale Section of my shop and then you can pick any other print of the same or lesser value for 50% or the listed price." Sounds pretty good to me, so here are the prints which are in the Yart Sale section (so far):

So, hurry scurry and rush over to Eyeshoot Photography before the end of June 14th to grab your half price print!

Featured - Understated Humour.

Ministry of Silly Walks is in a lovely eclectic Treasury this morning, it's on behalf of the Etsy Bead Weavers Team and it's nice to see that they have a sense of humour!

Understated Humour
by Nemeton

Nemeton is Lynn from Bournemouth in the UK (the English spelling of humour was a hint to me that she's from the UK as was the choice of my classic British comedy) and she has a shop full of beautiful beadwork and kits to make your own.

I think this is stunning, so much detail and in my favourite colours too!

And there's this one as a total contrast! I obviously have no taste whatsoever as I think it's great!

Sunday 7 June 2009

Made in Manchester

I've just returned back home after an afternoon down in the lovely Worcestershire countryside at a bit of a gathering of Peter's family in aid of his uncle who moved to Australia in the 60s and is currently making his first visit home. We drove through some seriously dramatic rain on the way down, but by the time we arrived, the sun was out and we had a nice time with nice food and lots of chat and got home in record time and I found this jolly Treasury full of Mancunian work, it's a little tribute to our fledgling Made in Manchester Group for which I've set up a blog but haven't done anything at all so I think that this Treasury will spur me to make the first proper post!

Made in Manchester
by Art Angel

Saturday 6 June 2009

Here's a bright and cheery Treasury for a dull and rainy Mancunian summer's day!

Sunshine and Blue Skies
by NY Illustration
I've been very lazy today - I didn't go out for a run this morning as it was pouring, I didn't go to the gym as I think that's a sort of sad thing to do on a Saturday, so I stayed in bed and haven't been much more active all day really. I've read by long abandoned book, faffed around online, done some laundry, watched Roddy Doyle's The Van and now Peter's back to disturb my peace with the Rolling Stones movie - I can't stand them so shall vacate to the bedroom with my book and leave him to it. My parents are coming round later and we're off to The Persia Grillhouse for mum's early birthday supper as she'll be away in the sunshine for the actual day. I may break with all tradition and pop out for a run in a bit, but then again I might not......

Thursday 4 June 2009


I've been featured on the lovely blog called Happyment, Rasa has a Window Shopping feature each week and often shops for photography. This week it's Through the Viewfinder images and has made a very nice selection (not that I'm biased or anything!).

I'm working on some square card designs which will be properly litho printed and it might be going ahead next week and I'm very excited. It's a bit tricky trying to decide which images to choose as I can only have six designs done in one go and I need to make sure that I get them right. I'm going on the basis that images which have sold well as prints will sell well as cards......they'll be blank inside, as if I added text, it would have to be the same for all of them and I think that's a bit limiting as I very rarely buy cards with other people's words inside, I like blank. There will be vast quantities so I hope I get it right else I'll be lumbered with boxes of cards for the rest of my life! Then I'll have to get brave and visit some shops and see if I can flog them and actually make some money, which would be novel!

Here's a random image as it doesn't seem right to post on my blog without adding a picture!

Tuesday 2 June 2009

We have acquired a pet

I'd love to have a cat, or even two, but seem to have acquired a pigeon!

Our living room is on the top floor of our flat and has big double doors which are open pretty much all of the summer and as it's like an oven here today, they are wide open. There are always loads of birds around and I'm not talking sweet little blue tits or robins, I'm talking crows (or ravens, I'm never sure of the difference) and magpies. They love to perch on the railings, tap dance on our metal roof and sometimes pluck up courage to peer in from the doorstep. Today, however, one finally flapped in. It landed first of all on a Spitfire which seemed very suitable and very well art directed and then flapped over to the top of the open door and seems very happy indeed there.

It's had a little preen and looks like it could do with a snooze and it utterly unconcerned by us at all. It seems to have a ring on one leg, so perhaps it's a domesticated homing pigeon which needed a rest or got lost. Anyway, it's still here


Here's a super bright and cheery Treasury for Tuesday morning, it's a beauty and has a really eclectic mix of items.

Live and in Color
by Eclectibles