Friday, April 21, 2017

California :: Part One

Clouds [Feb 9]
I have finally started going through the photos from my California trip and I'm going to share some of them with you. I took a lot (!) of photos, so I'm going to split them between a few posts. I don't want you to get photo overwhelm! And it's probably best not to sit and edit dozens of photos in one go.

Canada [Feb 9]
Canada from above. I spent quite a while just standing by the window in the galley looking out/down. Sadly, it was cloudy when we flew over Iceland and Greenland, but Canada isn't too shabby!

Actually, it's kinda weird that I can look out of an airplane window, because I am not goo with heights at all. Maybe it's because it's kinda surreal to be that high up, so the fear is overridden by 'holy carp, this is so weird and amazing!' Or something.

Golden gate Bridge [Feb 9]
It was raining when I arrived in San Francisco. But the Golden Gate Bridge was still nice.
Marin County [Feb 9]
I really like this blurry shot of somewhere in Marin county, taken from the car. The rain on the window gives it a beautiful depth. :-)

San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge [Feb 10]
The following day was a completely different story. Look at this, blue skies and just a bit of cloud. My sister had a doctor's appointment, so I tagged along to keep her company.  This causeway goes through San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It was beautiful, with lots of different birds.

San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge [Feb 10]
So beautiful.

San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge [Feb 10]
Some kind of bird. My sister is mad about birds, many birds were pointed out on our various drives. Birds are not my thing, but I did learn to recognise a turkey vulture.

San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge [Feb 10]
Ack, so pretty! There was a lot of extra water because they've had a lot of rain this winter. In some places trees were almost completely submerged.

Outside Napa [Feb 10]
A common sight in Napa Valley in spring, rapeseed flowers.

Mural in Napa [Feb 10]
On Instagram I follow an urban art magazine, and a few weeks before I went to California they posted about a mural that had just been completed, as part of the Rail Arts District Napa. It looked beautiful, so I had to go check it out. I'm so glad I did!

Isn't it stunning?

Mural in Napa [Feb 10]
It is called 'Knocking on Heavens Door' by artists Bezt of Etam Cru & Natalia Rak. More pieces are coming - I think one has just been finished right next to this one. (This link should show you where they are on Google Maps.)

Mural in Napa [Feb 10]

Orange tree - nice for breakfast [Feb 11]
Second day in CA. Orange tree in my sister's garden. Imagine having freshly picked oranges for your morning juice! It was delicious. :-)

Driving to Concord from Napa [Feb 11]
Driving from Napa to Concord. Beautiful hills.

Driving to Concord from Napa [Feb 11]
I think this is Mount Diablo.

Hula [Feb 11]
The reason we were going to Concord. My sister is a hula dancer! She got hooked on it when she lived in Hawaii. It was interesting to see!

If you come across the Nā Mamo No'eau hula dancers, that's my sister's crew. :-)

Driving from Concord to Napa [Feb 11]
More pretty hills, driving back from Concord.

JoAnn's haul :-) [Feb 12]
Ah yes, we stopped by JoAnn's in Concord on the way back. This is my (modest, don't you think?) haul of a few fat quarters and quilting rulers and a few other bits.

In the garden with sister and niece and nephew [Feb 12]
Look at these guys! Helping my sister with the weeding. Making mischief more like! :-)

Carrie Fisher and George Clooney [Feb 12]
I brought over a pair of unstuffed whale softies for the twins. A flat whale takes up less space in the suitcase! Meet Carrie Fisher and George Clooney. :-D

At DiRosa Art Museum in Napa [Feb 12]
Third day in California. The whole family went to a nearby di Rosa art museum.

At DiRosa Art Museum in Napa [Feb 12]
Set in a beautiful park with sculptures. Although we didn't see those, because that was a paid tour. And with a couple of two year olds, that probably wouldn't have been ideal. One of the people in the museum gave us an introduction to the current exhibition, but again, with at least two of the adults trying to keep the kids from touching the art, he could probably have picked a better audience. ;-)

At DiRosa Art Museum in Napa [Feb 12]
I really liked this painting. Unfortunately, I can't remember who painted it.

At DiRosa Art Museum in Napa [Feb 12]Or this one. Maybe I can look it up somewhere. If you know any of the artists, please let me know.

To end the excursion, we had lunch at a restaurant which the kids were very exited about!

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Creative Magazines for Sale

Have you heard of the Minimalist Game? It's a declutter/minimizing challenge where each day for a month you get rid of a number of items corresponding to the day of the month. So, one item on the first day, two on the second day, five on the fifth day and so on. I'm doing that this month and it's forcing me to take a good look at some of my stuff. So much stuff! Some of it doesn't have much value to anyone (why have I been keeping it?!), some is going to the charity shop and some I'm selling.

If you feel like it, you can follow my challenge with my special hashtag on Instagram: #carinasminsgame. If you want to check out other random people doing the challenge there's this hashtag: #minsgame.

I have some magazines and other bits that will go on eBay this weekend, but before I do that, I thought I'd offer them to you first. If you want any of it, just send me an email: and will sort out the details.

I have a stack of lovely, creative magazines that I think you will like.

Each is £4 + £2.90 postage (in the UK). I think I can send 2-3 magazines for the same postage. And if you want to grab more than one, I'll make you a deal: 2 mags = £7, 3 mags = £10 and 4 mags = £12. That's a good deal! Buying these magazines from the shop will cost £10-15 each!

Flow magazines destash
Flow magazine, the English version.

Uppercase magazines destash
Uppercase magazine.

Work Life 3 from Uppercase - destash
Work Life 3. A directory of illustration, also from Uppercase. Same price as the magazines.

Momijis - destash
These cute Momiji dolls have a small compartment where you can hide a secret message for someone. So cute. Even cuter because they are Hello Kitty Momiji. Perfect for Japanese cuteness lovers.

£5 each + £2.90 postage (UK). £8 for both and the postage should be the same.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Liberty Challenge :: LMQG

LMQG Liberty challenge 2017
In the quilt guild, we have a challenge at the moment. We were each given a few pieces of Liberty lawn fabric at the start of the year to use in a quilt. There were some rules to how we could make it. I think it was something like we can only use the Liberty fabric we had been given, so no adding from our stash (not hard for me since I barely have any Liberty fabric!) and it'd be good to use fabric in our stash/repurpose fabric.

I was sorta inspired by the Japanese technique of kintsugi, where pottery is repaired with lacquer mixed with gold dust and this makes the pottery even more beautiful.

So I had a look at my stash of Tony's old work shirts and picked one that was fairly neutral. I cut up the Liberty fabrics and sewed them into thin strips. Then I just started making random cuts in the shirt sections. I deliberately didn't think much about which print to put where, I focused more on finding a strip of the right length.

Once I had used up as much of the Liberty strips as I could, I pulled a solid colour from my stash. I used that to add to the short sections to square them up into blocks. And then I sewed the blocks together. It's all a bit wonky because it's cut only with scissors. No squaring up with ruler and rotary cutter.

LMQG Liberty challenge 2017
This is the result. For now. I have tried really hard to not judge the result or compare it to what I may have imagined it would look like. It does mostly look how I imagined. But. But, but, but. I'm really not diggin' it. I can't put my finger on why, exactly.

I have no problem with the wonkiness. I like that you can tell that some of the fabric used to be a shirt. I don't know. Maybe it's the overall shape of it. I've been thinking I might take another old shirt and do the same thing with the Liberty stash I do have and then sew the two together to make something that is more square. Or atleast bigger. Or something.

LMQG Liberty challenge 2017
Then again. Whenever I fold the quilt top, like in this photo, or the one at the top, I keep thinking "oh I quite like this section, or that section". So maybe I'll just cut it into square-ish squares and make a top from that. Who knows. I have put it aside for now and then I'll come back to it with fresh eyes at some point.

Playing with Liberty scraps
I had some tiny Liberty scraps leftover. Liberty is too pretty to throw away so I saved them. Pondering what to do with them for a couple of weeks. This is what I did with them: ironed them onto some light weight interfacing so they wouldn't fray too much. I cut out random leaf and circle shapes. And then I just started playing with a layout.

Once I found something I liked, I tacked it all down and now I'm slowly stitching the shapes to the background. What I'll do with it when I'm done, I have no idea. I'm just enjoying the process of simple stitches. :-)

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London
As promised, here are some photos from the Josef Frank exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London. I am so glad I went to see this exhibition, I've had a reminder in my calendar for months. So if you're in London and you're interested in pattern or surface design, don't miss it.

Seeing all these different designs together, I think you can really see how big an influence Josef Frank has had on the design you can find at IKEA.

I'm not going to say a whole lot, the beautiful work will speak for itself, I think! If you want to know more about Josef Frank, check out this Wikipedia article. There's also this article on the Guardian website and they have a photo gallery as well.

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London
I love-love-love these tulips. :-)

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London
Once you get up close to the designs you really notice how much details there is. 

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London
Josef Frank did lovely watercolors of still lifes, especially flowers, and of landscapes. Most of these have not been exhibited before.

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London
This scene just looks so very Swedish. :-)

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Josef Frank Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum, London

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Five Friday Favourites - April 7

Five Friday Favourites
This week is all about the simple pleasures in life. I like simple. :-)

The guild meeting and the rest of Sunday in London.

The vegan croissant I bought on Sunday. I heated it in the oven and had it for breakfast on Monday. It was delicious. I can count on one hand the things I miss eating as a vegan, and a nice croissant is one of them.

Big favourite this week: the gorgeous weather! High teens, maybe even hovering around 20°C in the right conditions. For Blake's afternoon walk yesterday I just went out in flipflops, didn't even wear socks. Obviously I wore clothes, I didn't go outside in the buff! But you know, bare feet! ;-)

The latest issue of Oh Comely magazine arrived today. I can't wait to slowly read it all.

Blossom tree
Our blossom tree. I must mention that. The blossoms make such a short appearance and I appreciate every last second of it. Here's a funny thing about our blossom tree: all the time we've lived here, it has always blossomed (is that a word?) around this time, early April. But when we saw the house for the very first time, the tree was in bloom and that was in late April or early May. So maybe that was a sign? :-)

Have a lovely weekend, friends. xo C

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

London on A Sunny Sunday

Lowndes Square
On Sunday, I spent a lovely, sunny day in London. I went to the monthly meeting at the London Modern Quilt Guild. Well, it's held monthly, but I haven't been able to go since January, sadly. The meeting is always a pleasure. Seeing what everyone have been making and maybe get some suggestions if you're struggling with a quilt.

On the way to the meeting, I stopped by the V&A to check out the Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London exhibition. It was the last day and I'm glad I got to see it. It was interesting to see the arts and crafts etc, but what made the biggest impression on me was his sketches of people in India. You can check out some of them in the V&A's collection.

After the meeting, I dashed off to Wholefoods to buy some of my favourite vegan yogurt. And a vegan croissant! Those things are rare! :-)

The Shard
Back on the Tube to get to the other side of the Thames to visit the Fashion and Textile Museum. Passing the Shard on the way. That's one tall building!

Fashion and Textile Museum
I love how colourful the Museum is. It feels very exotic, almost like a bit of...I dunno, Mexico has been transplanted to London. I saw the Josef Frank exhibition (so good!) and I'll do a separate post about that because I took quite a lot of pictures. ;-)

The Shard seen from Bermondsey Street
Walking down Bermondsey Street afterwards, I liked the sun reflecting on the buildings and the contrast between the older buildings and the Shard.

Graffiti in Crucifix Street
In nearby Crucifix Street I spotted this graffiti. Victorians made good bricks! :-)

Thames with Tower of London
Crossing the Thames via Tower Bridge. I'm no bridge aficionado, but that is a nice bridge. And the view isn't bad either!

Routemaster bus
Here's a tip for anyone visiting London, there is a 'heritage' bus route where you can be lucky to catch one of the old Routemaster buses. Bus route 15.

Roman wall by Tower of London
And finally, this is one of my favourite-favourite things/places in all of London. A section of the Roman wall. You can just walk up and touch it. Amazing. And most people just walk past it, probably not realising what it is and how old it is.

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