Sunday, 31 July 2011

the rain falls hard on a humdrum town

yesterday i dropped off my camera to go have its sensor cleaned, or go through sensor cleaning, whatever that might be, & while there i decided to have a look in the oxfam on the high street while my dad went searching for some elusive part needed to fix the kitchen tap.
i only had a quick browse as we had to dash off to collect my brother from his drum lesson, but i still managed to have a good rummage through the shelves of vinyl & this is what i found;
a who double a side single - had enough/who are you in its original sleeve & a john lennon & the plastic ono band single - happy xmas (war is over) with yoko's listen, the snow is falling on the other side.
i was pretty pleased with these finds, especially as they were both about a £1 each & in very good condition.
the john & yoko single has a pretty weird graphic in the middle of their faces morphing together, which is somewhat creepy.
especially as john lennon is a dead ringer for my uncle sean.
i am sad to say i don't know much about the who, although i do have a few of their songs on my ipod (i can see for miles, anyone?) & i do love their whole mod look which i think you can see in this single cover.
i also found an absolute beginners bowie single which was only 29p because it's quite scratched. my record player is usually pretty good at playing over scratched vinyl, but if it doesn't work i'm going to put it on my wall somewhere. in fact, i may start buying more scratched records & do that with them. my pet hate is when i see melted down records for sale on etsy as fruit bowls, i just think it's such a sad end to something so beautiful. (yes, i think records are beautiful)
i bought another scratched single to use in my art sketchbook, i think i'll paint on it & scratch words into it or something. it's part of my "music" page, as i'm trying to do an individual page for each jigsaw piece of  my personality.
i'm also going to draw john lennon for a page in my sketchbook, as i think our icons also make up part of who we are.
at the moment i really should be working on my sketchbook for the college summer project (title; who are you? completely feel like scrawling "i don't know, that's why i'm taking the course" across several pages) but i just can't find the motivation to do anything. it's been so long since i've ever actually done any artwork & i feel like i'm completely losing confidence in my abilities, so much so that i'm actually scared to pick up a pencil & attempt to draw myself. it doesn't help that i have a colossal headache & some kind of fever that just won't go away. i only have three weeks to finish this as well, and it's so bad that i'm being so lackadaisical about it because that isn't the kind of artist i want to be, but i just can't snap out of this.
also, i'm feeling somewhat downcast as i just found out via twitter that caitlin moran (my actual idol, who i'm also going to draw for my sketchbook) is at vintage at south bank today, which i was supposed to be going to up until a few weeks ago. woe.
sorry for the awfully maudlin end of this post! i'd also like to share a couple of links with you; i made a new tumblr for my jewellery shop, it's basically going to be a place where i'll post current jewellery & ideas for what i'll be doing next (and i do have so many ideas!), and also a little bit of what inspires me.
i also added a bunch of new rings to the shop, so click here if you'd like to take a look.
goodbye for now.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

jewellery shop launch

hello! as you may have guessed from the post title, i have finally launched my online jewellery shop! i'm really excited about it, the whole build up has been pretty intense & a little stressful so it's nice to finally have the etsy up & running!
i have been deliberating long & hard over the name for my jewellery shop, & i eventually decided on strawberry fields jewellery last week. partly inspired by the beatles' song, but also by the place itself which is beautiful while being completely chaotic. i like to think of my jewellery as being quirky, original and cute & i am constantly on the look out on ebay & in charity shops for interesting vintage & recycled items to use in my designs. most of the things i make are completely unique as the materials i use are often one-offs themselves. i also like to think that the prices are reasonable & not overly expensive, as that is one thing that i find disheartening about some independent jewellery stores. as far as i am concerned, the prices match the craftswomanship & originality behind the jewellery - and i hope you agree! (:
i'm going to create some kind of button to go at the side of my page to directly link to the site (which may take a while as i am useless with all kinds of computer graphicsy business), but for now i'm just going to bombard you with links!
i've put photos of all the stock up on the facebook page, not all of it is listed in the shop at the minute because i still have to work our measurements etc, but it gives you a preview of the jewellery which will be for sale & some of the things i have already sold. i'll be regularly updating the page with new stock & perhaps some "making of" pictures, as well as special offers & discount codes, which will also be given out on twitter.
for now, here is a sample of the jewellery currently in stock & coming soon to the shop;
(i sold a similar bracelet this morning which had 5 beads & a vintage clasp)
i used to collect stamps when i was younger, so i have quite a few of these stamp earrings for sale.
the art department of my school was throwing out a bunch of old slides last year, & i took the opportunity to recycle them & make some jewellery from them. as well as this one, there are some slides featuring pictures of famous paintings by jmw turner (one of my favourite artists).
i love this necklace, very nearly kept it for myself!
blue teapot necklace, blue sugarbowl necklace & blue jug necklace.
these will be coming very soon to the shop!
musical instrument necklaces, including guitar, banjo, violin, trumpet & saxophone charms.
these will also be coming soon to the site.
thanks for reading, i hope to see you soon in the shop! (:

Friday, 22 July 2011

starry starry night, paint your palette blue and grey

this is going to be my last post about my time in paris, and i do hope they haven't been too dull for you! as well as wanting to show you my pictures & share my thoughts on the sights, it is also a way for me to keep a kind of online journal that i can look back on & think about my memories from that trip.
this post is going to be a little photograph laden, so i don't blame you if you don't get to the end! i have been thinking about setting up a flickr, but i think i would just feel like a bit of a ponce as i don't think of myself as a photographer in any way.
the musee d'orsay. i chose this place over the louvre as it has a famous impressionists gallery, which just happens to be my favourite art form. there was quite a queue to get in, but the 40 minute wait wasn't too bad because i got to spend just as much time looking at the van goghs (favourite artist alert) and exploring the many degas pieces, an artist who i had never really looked at before.

the view along the champs elysees (i think) towards the arc de triomphe. it was a pretty overcast day, so some of the photos came out a bit dark & misty.

submarine poster along the champs elysees. i also saw one for the trip with the caption "une comedie SO BRITISH"
the arc de triomphe was pretty impressive, i was actually quite surprised as i was expecting it to be about the same size as marble arch in london, but it was bloody massive!

a very busy laduree, not the one that i visited though.
a distant eiffel tower.
mother & i did plan to get off the sightseeing bus at the eiffel tower, but i decided not to because it was chucking it down by that point & we weren't going to go up it as we're both pretty scared of heights.
i was impressed by how intricate the metalwork was, it really was rather beautiful.
paris as a whole was very beautiful, and i would love to go again another time, as i don't feel you can see it all in one visit.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


one of my favourite sights from my trip to paris was found completely by accident. after walking through the courtyard of the louvre (although i didn't actually go in the gallery as the queue was like 3 hours long), we crossed the road to wait for the sightseeing bus & on the bridge behind us were hundreds and hundreds of padlocks.
i'm not sure what tradition/superstition this is, or even the name of the bridge, but lots of the locks seemed to have inscriptions of names & hearts, so i'm guessing it's something to do with wishing for everlasting love. after all, paris is the city of love.

i just loved the huge range of locks that were there, all kinds of colours, shapes and sizes. some were old, plain & rusty and some were shiny and newer-looking.
some had no writing whatsoever, some had rudimentary initials daubed on in tip-ex or paint, and some had personalised & poetic inscriptions. i think this is such a lovely thing to do, and i truly was amazed.

Monday, 18 July 2011

hello, there's a queue.

another one of my favourite things-i-did-in-paris was visiting laduree on rue royale (one of three patisseries in the capital i believe). i have heard, and seen, a lot about macarons (yes, macarons. macaroon is the americanised name which really annoys me.) but i had never actually eaten any myself until now, and they were unbelievable!
mother & i had eight between us, i had vanilla, raspberry & mint, soft salted caramel and chocolate, and mother had the same except swapped the chocolate for pistachio. it's hard to describe how they tasted; they were very sweet & had a lovely, albeit strange texture, kind of like a biscuity cake if that makes any sense at all!
sorry about my slightly bizarre table photos, i don't think i'm going to make it as a food blogger any time soon.
the raspberry was my favourite, mainly because it was the least sweet, & i don't have that much of a sweet tooth. the vanilla & chocolate were also lovely, i really would recommend visiting laduree if you're ever in paris (even though it is pretty pricey!). the one we visited was not particularly busy, although there were a few people who pushed past us prompting the (brilliant) australian woman behind us to shout "hello, there's a queue!"
i also caved in at the airport & bought a box of eight to take home with me, 15 euros, eek.

the flavours i got were raspberry & mint, melon, vanilla and chocolate, lovely! still have two left which i think i will have later with a glass of cream soda, just to really crank up the sugaryness.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

a dreaded sunny day, so i meet you at the cemetery gates.

hello! i have returned from paris, which was so so amazing. i had a really lovely time, and i've scheduled a couple of posts about my favourite moments so i don't overload you all with too many pictures in this post!
the hotel we stayed in was really lovely (the guy at the check-in desk looked like a young ray la montagne, bonjour.), and only ten minutes away from pere lachaise cemetery which i was really looking forward to seeing. it may be a tad morbid for some, but i find cemeteries & graveyards really beautiful places. i think they say a lot about human nature, and people's personalities too - some graves were very elaborate & impressive, whereas others were smaller & more understated.
i was in awe the whole time, and could have wandered around the cemetery all day. i do, however, feel it is definitely important to respect those who have left us & i assure you i wasn't just walking around snapping pictures like some crazed tourist, i was very aware that - while the pere lachaise cemetery is a major tourist attraction in paris - it is still used as a graveyard today.
unfortunately, as we were walking around the cemetery it started to rain pretty heavily, and then we could hear a heavy rumble of thunder overhead and a few intermittent flashes of lighting. while this was very atmospheric & somewhat sinister (it felt very mary shelley's frankenstein, which i finished reading about a month ago), it made taking photographs somewhat of a farce as i didn't want to get any water in my camera lens. this meant that whenever i wanted to take a picture i had to get my mother to hold an umbrella over me and then shuffle about as i took photographs. it was a tad on the ridiculous side.
the rain also meant we spent rather a long time searching for jim morrison's grave as the route was very slippy and that part of the cemetery was very confusing to get around. eventually we found it, after passing it twice without realising.
apparently one of the traditions for visitors of the cemetery is to drink alcohol, take drugs or have sex on his grave (i seriously am not kidding!), so now there is a permanent security guard there, something which i find rather hilarious.
oscar wilde's grave was, by comparison, very easy to find, mainly because it's a huge stone structure covered in lipstick kisses (another tradition for tourists). people had left all sorts of gifts there, from paper cranes to an aerosol of breath freshener. oscar wilde truly is one of my favourite writers; he's witty, insightful, very clever, a feminist and had a way with words which is beautifully poetic as well as being crystal clear.
also, ten points to anyone who recognised the smiths/oscar wilde related song in the post title.
a paraphased quote from oscar.

there is something so beautiful about a moss-covered grave.
in other news, i saw harry potter last night with two of my friends! it was so good, really went beyond my expectations (even though the ron/hermione kiss was a bit weird compared to how its depicted in the book) & i must admit i welled up a fair few times.

Sunday, 10 July 2011


i went to a party on friday night at my friend alix's house (hello alix!), which was a really great night. it was lovely to spend another night with friends, and just to talk to people after slobbing around the house all week! i can remember laughing an awful lot, which was such a release after feeling ill for such a long time.
i wore this necklace (which i made) to the party. i've made another one in a light green/turquoise colour which i am going to sell in my jewellery shop when i finally open it. i love the irony of using traditionally female crafts to write political/feminist statements, in fact it's pretty much what i did for my last art project. i also kind of like the fact that, while feminists protest against the labelling of women, i have literally labelled myself as a feminist, which i am more than proud to do so.

on that note, if there are any women reading this who live in britain & haven't read how to be a woman by caitlin moran, do so now! it really is an incredible book, so relevant and so accurate to the every day issues and struggles faced by modern women. the entire time reading it i was just thinking, "yes! oh my god, she's right, she'd bloody right!" about each issue raised. i find it incredibly refreshing to read a feminist polemic that is funny (because it is hilarious) & at the same time completely relevant to my own experiences. it may seem corny to say this, but sometimes i felt as if i was reading things that i myself had thought about, but had struggled to actually pin down & voice. i'll stop talking about this now, as i've actually been thinking about doing a book review about it, as it had such a huge impact on me.
i've just looked up the weather forecast for paris next week, and it looks like it's going to be pretty hot but also pretty stormy, so i'm really going to have to think about what to wear. *packs raincoat and factor 40 suncream*
see you in a few days! (:

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

quirky, quirkier, quirkiest.

oops, can't believe i haven't posted in nearly two weeks, sorry about that! i've had a pretty bad infection for about a week and a half now, which has been really painful, so i've not really been in the mood for posting. the doctor prescribed me some antibiotics which made me unbelievably nauseous, but i've been given some different ones & am now feeling much bette, thank god.
last friday was my school's leavers' ball, which was a really lovely night (despite the fact i was majorly drugged up on nurofen painkillers). the meal we had was really funny, & i actually ended up getting an award, totally unexpected! i didn't take many pictures, but to be honest it was really nice to just be there & enjoy the night. there were a few professional photos taken, i especially can't wait to see the awkwardness of me standing alone on the stairs!
charlotte, birkbeck, kate, me, beth & cathryn. my posture is kind of awful in this picture.
i didn't really get any proper ~outfit pictures~ but i did post some detail photos of my dress when i first bought it here.
i didn't like the main course we were given (fussy eater alert), so i made it into a face. cue troll face expression & obnoxious pose. maturity, this is what it looks like.
my friend also joined in my display of arty maturity & made the world's easiest maze out of mange tout.
my face!!1! any resemblance to that green-haired batman villain is completely unintentional.
me, birkbeck & harriet. shiny face alert under all the flashing lights.
alix, kate, me & cathryn. awkward leaning & me becoming a meerkat.
this is me collecting my reward, tearing up slightly. i'm actually not too sure what the award was even for, although i'm pretty sure the phrase "unique sense of style" was mentioned! i was so, so surprised to be given an award, & i got a little bit emotional walking to collect it, it's just so weird/nice to think that people (especially real life people who i never thought cared) like the way i dress and want to tell me so in award form! also, they mentioned the fact that i have a blog in the speech, it was so unbelievably weird to hear it said by someone else, especially as i didn't even think anyone knew i had one!
okay, so that paragraph was a complete mess, sorry if that was ridiculously difficult to understand/follow/read.
my award! i think this means i am officially the quirkiest person in my year, yay!
i'm going to paris on monday with my mum (can't believe it's arrived so fast!), so i'll probably post before i go & maybe schedule one for while i'm away (: