Friday, 26 February 2010

One Hundred Days - no.44

auction action

Two of my local(ish) auction houses have new catalogues up this week for sales tomorrow and the following Saturday. First up is the 'Rural and Domestic Bygones' sale at TW Gaze in Diss tomorrow. I would probably be going, only we have a wedding to attend in the north. I love this particular sale at Gaze's - I wrote about it back in November here and here. The auction takes up most of the day, and the most wonderful things can be found there, things that make my heart swell with joy, like Victorian footwear, a hat-stretcher, a fishing creel, butter churns, telephones, tins and ephemera. Oh and something, unphotographed, called a 'sweat scrape' for £30-45. Above and below I have collected a few items of interest - who wants a mangle, another milk churn (there are several for sale), or perhaps a hot water jug?

Next Saturday we have the auction-worth-going-to-for-the-bacon-butties - Willingham. Again, we are busy that day and won't be able to attend, but here are a few interesting items:

A group of five vintage cameras including a working Weltaflex 2 1/4" square twin lens reflex and five vintage tripods, £60-100.

Or you can have a bit of medical history: a World War I Avery Ltd oak and ash portable hospital weight machine with weighing seat, £700-1200. Brilliant - what a tremendous thing to have in your hallway, although for that price tag I think you would have to be quite insane.

Or for a bit of Parisian bistro chic, how about a set of six Thonet bentwood chairs for £100-200. They aren't as nice as the ones I loved from before, and not quite to my taste, but are much more affordable and rather good nonetheless - the detailing on the seats is just lovely.

Happy Friday everyone! I am away this weekend so will probably be unable to post up my One Hundred drawings until Monday. Have a good one!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

One Hundred Days - no.42, 43

I was a bad girl yesterday. I ran off to watch a football match (come on you Spurs!) instead of drawing pictures. So this is for yesterday and today.

Swallows and Amazons - camping

This post is dangerously close to sounding like just another take on 'glamping' so I need to be a bit careful here. This is NOT about staying in a bed with a duvet in a yurt, or being able to have sweet-smelling hot showers, electricity and a Persian rug on the floor. I want to talk about old fashioned camping - canvas tents, stony ground, cooking over campfires, eating tinned food and sleeping under thick blankets. If I were to do this I would want to travel and live as simply as possible; I'm not a glamorous girl who wants her life to be all pretty and pillowy with hairdryers and towelling robes galore. Don't get me wrong - I like my creature comforts a lot - but there is something very attractive to me about the frugality of camping. No rain, though, please, not too much rain and mud.

In the spirit of yesterday's post, I've put together some things I might want to have around if I were setting up camp on a little lake island for the summer holidays. True to the Swallows, one must have a little vintage milk can, must one not? I've probably lost all of you there if you haven't read the books, so apologies for being such a nerd about it.

(clockwise from top left) Ridge tent from £465, Albion Canvas; first aid tin with contents, £22, H is for Home; wooden first aid box, £28, H is for Home; milk can, £25, H is for Home; English willow fishing creel, £285, Great English Outdoors; Welsh blankets, from £85, Baileys; sandwich tin, £8, H is for Home.

(clockwise from top left) Woodsman tent, from £605, Albion Canvas; narrow loom Welsh blanket, £185, Great English Outdoors; billy can, £14, Baileys; candles, Labour and Wait.

(clockwise from top left) Enamel teapot, £12, Labour and Wait (or google 'falcon enamelware' for cheaper prices); red saucepan, £40, Labour and Wait; vintage Chalwyn hurricane lamp, £15, eBay; steel kettle, £38, Labour and Wait; 4m bell tent, £279,

I have made a few concessions to space by choosing pretty large tents, but they are good to look at aren't they, and surely a girl needs a little more space once she's grown up? If you want an even more vintage look, try the period ridge tents from £255, Albion Canvas.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

More vintage chairs

I just got an e-mail update of some new things for sale at vintage and antiques shop, Elemental, on Brushfield Street, Spitalfields in London. My favourite is this old school library table and ten chairs. What a great thing to have guests seated around (and on)! The chairs can be bought here without the table. I also love industrial style chairs so this machinist's stool caught my eye.

Or how about this vintage 1970s Japanese architect's chair from Pigeon Vintage?

Swallows and Amazons

When I was a child I was an avid fan of the Swallows and Amazons books by Arthur Ransome. I wanted to run wild around the countryside making maps, sleeping in tents, eating tinned beef and calling it pemmican, prancing around in my swimwear whilst daubed in mud; I wanted to swim in lakes, sail boats, and plan expeditions all whilst hanging around in shorts and thick fisherman's jumpers and leather brogues with socks. It all sounded like such fun, a fantasy with few adults but lots of fire and knives. OK, that didn't come out quite right, but you know what I mean.

These days I'm a bit more self-conscious in swimwear, but all of the other things I would still definitely do. And what would I wear? Well, I was pratting about on Polyvore yesterday and came up with this slightly monochromatic and unintentionally expensive selection.

Swallows and Amazons

Alcina Sweater, $395
Shirred Boyfriend Shirt, $275
Corsham Duffle, 180 GBP
Old Navy Womens Perfect Khaki Shorts (3), $20
Brown Leather Brogue Shoe, 40 GBP

The anchor brooch is actually a monstrous 15cm thing from Topshop US, the beige cashmere socks (I know this is all a bit expensive!) are sold out, and the bag is a military surplus bag from Hungary. The belt is £40 from All Saints - happily I have an almost identical one from years ago that I bought for £5 in a Topshop sale :-) Maybe a proper raincoat and an old fashioned sou'wester would also be essential in our rainy summers. I would add a red beret or woolly hat - indeed I already own one(!) - but I think that would probably take things a bit too far.

Tomorrow I will find some good things for a vintage, Swallows and Amazons style camping trip. See you then!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

a bit of whimsy and nostalgia

I'm wondering if anyone has £450k to spare? (clockwise from top left) Which would you choose, an eight bed Georgian mansion for some serious refurbishment near Aberystwyth (two images) or a beautiful townhouse overlooking the gorge at Ironbridge? Or for £300k you can get the quirky old toll house in the same town. OK, so none of these are the right house, but it doesn't hurt to look, eh?

Ironbridge is upstream of where I grew up playing on the banks of the bestest river, the Severn. I have the happiest memories of wading thigh deep in the rough waters near Bewdley, impromptu picnics on its banks during the long, idyllic summers of my childhood, trying to build a bridge across it with pebbles, the feel of the water between my toes when I flooded my wellies. Truly I had a wonderful childhood and desperately miss that place sometimes. My parents no longer live there, and when I went back last summer to visit, the first thing I did was stand and weep in the spot where once we released a caught eel back into the river. I was caught off guard by my emotions. Sorry, looking at these Ironbridge houses has made me a bit maudlin and nostalgic.

Images from Nock Deighton and Aled Ellis.

One Hundred Days - no.41

(click the picture for a larger version) Sorry for the gratuitous swearing. It's the dog. Blame the dog.

Monday, 22 February 2010

One Hundred Days - no.40

Jackson, Johnston & Roe

I spotted the new collection at Jackson, Johnston & Roe last Friday. I love the styling and colours and the great footwear - I've been ogling shoe-boot-sandal things all weekend on eBay wondering if I should wear more heels. Those brown sandals in the last shot? Want! That balance of androgynous styling against feminine details and accessories gets me every time.

My peg leg trousers arrived on Saturday and they are amazing! I will wait for the weather to brighten up (it is snowing AGAIN) before I take a photo. If I'm also feeling brave enough, that is. Now, a pair of teetering platform chunky shoe boot sandally thingies would finish off the look perfectly.

One Hundred Days - no.39

I'm not doing too well at keeping up with this... even the critters are getting bored of me. I'm in a bit of a rut - going through the motions and churning out a two minute character drawing every day - but I haven't got the time to think about it much. Here's something for yesterday:

I'll be back with something later today!

Friday, 19 February 2010

happy Friday!

for most of you anyway. I have barely started the weekend's work. I need SERIOUS pressure and horrifying time limits in order to get into gear. So far I have taken some screen grabs, saved some reference pictures of tractors, wheelbarrows and honeybees, watched some old television adverts on Youtube, puttered around looking at inappropriate footwear on eBay, eaten a chocolate bar, made coffee... and I'm going out to dinner tonight so NOW I'm wondering what to wear. You see, it's a big thing for someone who doesn't leave the house a lot - it's a chance to wear something proper and for someone other than myself to SEE it. Poor me, I know.

If I had the money and were feeling brave, how about these fabulous Luxury Trousers from Nadinoo?! A real statement. Take a look at all the other Liberty-print clothing that they make.

I also posted up the soup recipe that I mentioned yesterday. It was amazing. You should try it although you might need a strong constitution to survive the corrosive stench that your body might make afterwards. Have a good weekend!

One Hundred Days - no.37

I'll do my duties before things get out of hand...

Thursday, 18 February 2010

One Hundred Days - no.36 and an exciting job

I'm now up to my eyeballs in work and my weekend is going to be non-existent. But for an animation job that relates, albeit rather tenuously, to one of my food heroes, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, I will gladly work my arse off. Bet you're curious now!

Here's a drawing for today. I will try to pop by tomorrow, but I'm not lying - I'm going to be busy!


I have nothing to say for myself. I've got a work deadline tomorrow and I am, as always, procrastinating with a mind-blowing amount of skill. My talents in this area are nothing short of phenomenal.

I spend five minutes working, then twenty reading blogs and looking at eBay, then two minutes working, then I go and make some tea. Or maybe I'll think about lunch (today I will attempt my first jerusalem artichoke soup because the husband is at home and I want to make him flatulent). I will write it up on my other blog if it turns out well. Now I am spending twenty minutes wondering what to write about here. Maybe a few links will do for today so I can actually get some work done!

I read this lovely post by Jena at Modish the other day. I thought it was inspirational and encouraging. I have always struggled with self-image issues - feeling different because I'm Chinese in England, feeling like I'm not thin enough (for what?), hating my flat little nose, hating my legs, hating how the back of my head is a bit flatter than other people's, hating my short sightedness. It's exhausting hating yourself so much. I try every day to like myself a bit more and I'm slowly, slowly, getting there. Nowadays I seem to actively try to stand out like a sore thumb and enjoy being different. It's the differences that make each of us unique and interesting.

I saw a set of tiny plywood school chairs for sale at my local junk shop a couple of weeks ago but they were too tatty (even for £4.50 each) to contemplate. Plus buying them would make it look like I want to have a child, which is NOT on the cards yet. Not for a long time. However, these beauties have turned up at Pigeon Vintage and are adult sized. OK, they are nearly ten times more expensive but you know, I like chairs and they would be worth it. The husband and I have recently given back the chairs we were loaned by his grandma and are now left with two chapel chairs and a solitary dining chair (which I use at my desk) for ourselves. Maybe it's time to get some more?! These would go nicely with that sort of mid-century retro schoolhouse vaguely industrial sparse look that I am currently liking.

This little pennant from Fine Little Shop, run by Elisabeth Dunker of Studio Violet fame, would go nicely too. I am having a bit of a pennant obsession at the moment, but the ones I've seen on eBay haven't been quite right yet. I think I need to look harder. This one from The Bucket Tree is great too.

OK, that was longer than expected. Back to work. Whilst I've been writing and procrastinating, I got a phone call about ANOTHER job. Will it never end?! :-P

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

One Hundred Days - no.35

busy with work today, hence the lateness of this drawing. Plus I can't be arsed.

peg leg trousers

Sorry I keep writing about clothes... but on an impulse last night I bought a pair of 1980s checked peg leg trousers for £6.98 on eBay. Daft? For someone who is 5'6 and not in the possession of the world's longest legs, it's probably disastrous. I was messing around with some pairs in Topshop at the weekend and thought, with some heels and a bit of imagination, they could be OK. However, I wasn't prepared to pay £35 for the privilege of finding out they are NOT OK, so I've been scouring eBay, where you can pick up some great vintage pairs (velvet pair below from this seller), or new ones made by Gap, All Saints, Topshop etc. for a lot less than full retail price. If like me you're not sure if a look will really suit you, I think getting some on the cheap is a good idea (probably something that some other poor mug has discarded because this look DOESN'T SUIT ANYONE under 5'11). OK, so the pair I got were probably not the best, but then I like to be a little bit off-centre when it comes to fashion. It will never do to be too slavish.

What to wear them with? Damned if I know. A jersey vest tucked in and a big smile are probably my safest bets. I'm wondering, though, if a cropped and gently tapered version like these at Urban Outfitters would have been more flattering...

It's not a huge step from the tapered trouser look, but this season there is a new trend for a certain kind of sweat pant. Yes, trackie bottoms, joggers whatever - they were all over the catwalks. Not any kind of sweat pant, mind. They have to be tapered to the ankle with/without a cuff, be the right kind of colour (read grey or black), and MUST be worn with the right thing on top otherwise you're going to look like you just crawled out of bed to buy milk on some council estate in Manchester. Comfortable, easy on the eye, versatile... God knows, this could be a fashion hit. Topshop has some in light and darker grey, or find them at ASOS here, here, and here, or Urban Outfitters here amongst many others. Or we could all realize that these can make our arses look huge and the whole thing could die.

Image from here.

EDIT (May 2010): see how I wore these trousers here.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

One Hundred Days - no.34

indulge me

for just a little while. I need to tell you about this. I like classic cars, all sorts, from the delightfully weird, backwards-looking Fiat Multipla (pictures above from previous link and Flickr), through various Austins and Fords to the sweet 1990s retro Nissan Figaro. Call me a tomboy if you will, I like cars (don't much like driving them, though - I'm a hazard). But being a typical girl, silly, blobby, impractical-looking ones are my favourites :-)

Image from here.

If I had to choose, though, I would have to own a Bedford CA, preferably of the camper-van type, or perhaps the ice-cream van or fire truck version. They are just too cute, with their snub noses and gorgeous colouring. I would turn mine into a travelling drawing booth, where people can come inside and I'll draw a portrait of them as an animal or something ridiculous like that. Sound like a plan?

Image from here.

Image from here.

Image from here.

Monday, 15 February 2010

One Hundred Days - no.33

The husband has surprised me by coming home early and telling me that he is taking me out for dinner. This is for you, sweetheart.

some junk

I picked up these sweet Broadhurst ironstone cake plates (seven of them!), and eight little bowls in a charity shop in Cambridge on Saturday for £3.45. Imagine my glee. I couldn't help myself. They were perfect for serving the lovely lemon and almond cake that we made at the weekend. I have written the recipe up here.

One Hundred Days - no.31, 32

I've been a bad girl this weekend - catching up!

More fun and games to come later today when I've got my act together...

Friday, 12 February 2010

One Hundred Days - no.30

Is it just me, or do you love your old teddies just as much as I still love mine?

a few things for the weekend...

I don't often blog stuff that someone else has blogged, but I am loving this house. The light and colours are perfect and that raw wall in the kitchen is beautiful. I get the feeling that if I were to ever try something like that it would just look horrible, but it works here. Image from Ill Seen, Ill Said (full credits to be found there).

Whilst I am blogging this, I am listening to Devendra Banhart, who happens to be a great drawer as well as a singer. His music seems to be hitting just right note for me today - intriguing, whimsical, simple, expressive, almost elemental if that makes any sense. I am always drawn to artists whose output hints at fabulous and colourful goings-on inside their heads.

Have you seen this video for his song, 'A Ribbon'? It's just beautiful.

Here is some of his artwork, scanned by me from Vitamin D - New Perspectives in Drawing published by Phaidon. This book is seriously amazing and inspiring. I will write more about it next week with some images from it.

Untitled, 2004, ink on paper.

(top) Bob Marley, Indian Rasta Ghost, Skullface Indian, Babylon You Throne, Gone Down, 2004, ink on paper. (bottom) Untitled, 2004, ink on paper.

(We've been having internet issues here, so if I don't post something for the one hundred days later, forgive me!)

Have a great weekend! Happy Valentine's Day too :-) x