Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I've been two timing you !

I now have a new website all shiney and new - with downloadble thingy's and I've been learning to blog with a whole new kind of blogging technology. Much intense fiddling. I haven't got the spell checker to work yet so bear with me.

Please hop on over to Creative Voyage Mark II if for some reason only the banner comes up click on the banner image.

Autumn Receipts

I'm still fighting Autumn or the concept of it. This means I'm still wearing sandals and bare feet but throwing a large woolen stole over the top half of me to keep warm.

But I made sausage casserole for lunch and have just put into the oven my favourite oaty apple crumble to take to work later.

Its very easy.

I shoogle out some oats into a pan and add some sunflower oil and cook over a low heat, mixing and then adding a little sugar and spices. Best would be cinnamon, all spice (today all I had was ground ginger). Then I took 4 apples cookers or eaters it doesn't matter. I chopped out the core and roughly chopped them up. I didn't peel them. I recon the peel is fibre and life is to short etc.

I put the chopped apple into an oven proof dish (a deepish one rather than flat) then I spread the oat mixture on top. If I had some slithered almonds I would have added that. Into the oven for about half an hour on a medium heat.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I love my moka

Every morning I stumble out of the shower - throw on some clothes, empty out my Moka coffee pot of yesterdays grounds, go outside if it isn't raining and chuck the grounds onto one of my plant pots. ( I will get a composter soon ). Then I wash it out, fill it up - currently with a very mellow NY style half caffine fairtrade version from Marks & Spencer (£2.25 a bag) and put it on my gas stove. The lowest heat. While it percolates through, I tackle the the washing up by hand. Then if its good weather I go outside with my coffee and sit on my bench under my cherry tree and a notebook and sip coffee and write my 'morning pages'. Its total luxury and costs me probably between 30-40p a day.
In 2000 I moved into this house and away from flatmates I vowed to never drink 'unreal coffee' again. And I have never bought instant coffee over the threshhold - as god is my witness... Occasionally I've fallen and been so broke I've not bought fairtrade. (IKEA does £1 bags of coffee and Lidle does 100g tins for £1.29). But as luxury's go its pretty cheap.
Coco Chanel said that 'Luxury is a necessity which begins were necessity ends' - mind you she was in the business of selling very expensive perfume.
But part of the luxury of the real cup of coffee is the time to have it. Allow it to percolate up - the lovely sound it makes - the time to sniff the aroma and finally the time to sit down and drink out of a favourite mug.
You might be allergic to caffine or loathe the taste but its worth thinking about what is the one thing that really adds to your life which is worth not compromising on. What is your luxury which begins were necessity ends?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Upcoming events at the Scottish Poetry Library

Sat 27th Sept 11-6pm By Leaves We Live - Free
One day poetry and art book fair.

Friday 10th Oct 7pm - £5/3
David Malouf: Selected Works
Poet & Novelist David Malouf is the 2008 Scottish Arts Council Muriel Spark Fellow. He will be taling about his favourite poems in conversation with Robyn Marsack.

Sat 18th Oct 1-6pm - Free
Two Minutes Pandemonium - hand picked selections from recording collections drop in any time.

More info from the Scottish Poetry Library.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I've just done my semi annual barbeque/braai. Its easiest with people bringing children to do something outdoors. The weather held ! I had contingency plans to casserole sausages and do mashed potatoes indoors if it tippped down. But two days of provisioning and housework has left me exhausted. I'm off to lie down on the sofa with the Observer. I used to entertain like a demon at least every two months a dinner party, party party... I'm now a semi hermit with my hostessing skills extremely rusty.

I'm not sure if the trick is to entertain more to make it easier or not or just to let off doing it at all.

Oh well the cake went down well, orange/almond/gluten free.

Friday, September 19, 2008

If your everyday life appears to be unworthy subject matter, do not complain to life. Complain to yourself. Lament that you are not poet enough to call up its wealth. For the creative artist there is no poverty-nothing insignificant or unimportant. (Rainer Maria Rilke)

from 37 days

I've reposted this for Photo Friday - as I do think its extraordinary that I managed to take a photo like this - its Portobello sandflats with the tide out.

Verde's Jeanette Winterson's shop

In case you were wondering the picture in the post below is taken from Verde. Jeanette Winterson - the writer - I think got hold of the space or lives above it and she reopened it as a shop. Its very expensive, I've had lunch there but its an experience not to be missed. If you are visiting London I'd highly recommend it. Nice chocs too! but don't go on Sat - hideously crowded go during the week.

I must read more of her books - onto my list for the library.

Window at Verde in Spitalfields
Good news ! Bitch Magazine manged to raise $46,000 in a few days $6000 over their target to keep printing. Since we hardly ever get good news I'm trilled. And Sandbagged a way of using supply and demand against Carbon trading. This site has been set up to buy up and permanently retire EU carbon permits to prevent companies buying their way out of carbon emissions. I made a list last night of Autumn Pleasures. I've accepted that summer is over...
Watching films
Roast Chicken and Roast Lamb dinners
Walking by the sea
Library books
Writing to people
There were others but I'm posting the list back to me. Anyway it was good to remind myself that all is not lost even if the summer is over.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Actually its dry here today ! and normally I'd be outside with my journal and coffee but don't feel very well today so my normal routine is interrupted.
Instructions on making Turkish Coffee and carrott mobbing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Indian woman writer

I've been over at Bitch magazine - they are having fundrasing drive to keep printing. Though that I found this link to an Indian woman writer's blog in Madras/Chennai. Really fascinating.

coffee & dry !

But not yesterday... had lunch with two friends at Spoon Cafe. Really great wee documentary but not sure what the ESRC is doing funding this kind of stuff !

Been struggling the last few days with perfectionism and trying to get things done - how ever just bashing on seems to have helped inbetween lots of chocolate.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

coffee & rain

This picture is from Nextbook a really interesting online magazine I found on my excessive surfing. Its u tterly miserable and wet and gray here so anxious to post a nice bright cheerful image this morning ie not one of my holgas !
Yesterday the prayers failed as I got closer to Glasgow it got wetter. I'd hoped to post 9 parcels in Edinburgh before I got the train but as I got to the post office I found it shut due to an Edinburgh bank holiday. So I hauled my bag to the west and to my relief the post office was open there. So £12 later I was able to walk unencumbered.
I had lunch at the Lighthouse and as I was sitting there drew the salt & pepper and little pot of chunky sugar cubes in my journal. I've got to draw more - more bad drawings please!
Then I went up to the viewing platform which was a bit gray for photographs. Walked to view a room for teaching in. Then took the underground to Kelvinbridge. When in the train there was an ad for a fairtrade coffee/clothes shop near the underground so I made an effort to find it. Its down off the main road in Bank St. I had to take a photograph of the frontage! I love the name - 'stop being bolshie' is often said to young feisty women. Unfortuantly after spending money on slide medium format film I was down to my last £3 and had a scone and coffee. But I'd have loved to have got a couple of 'Bolshie' hemp bags. I'll go back some time. They seem to do fun events as well like knitting workshops so worth checking out if you live in the area.
By the time I'd had my scone and coffee it was time to make my way over the hill to Byres Road to meet my friend. We had an early supper in a deli/cafe which I can't remember the name of. This was good so I was able to get the 10pm train back to Edinburgh, and early enough not to have to splash out on a taxi. I bought a New Yorker to read on the train which I hadn't read for a while and it was great. Really interesting coverage of the Republican Convention and China.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Please pray for a dryish day

I'm off to Glasgow for an Artist Date/bit of work/meeting friend. Its notorious for being wet but I want to spend the afternoon taking photographs. It does have amazing Victorian architecture which I hope will come out well on the holga.

Post office first so better get going !

Saturday, September 13, 2008


EIFF closing night party 2008 - Holga

I'm terribly tired. I enjoyed my breakfast out. Went to work but got the times wrong and where I work if you are late for a shift - they cancell the rest of the shift. I went home and was going to catch up on stuff with this unexpected parcel of time, even go and walk at the beach. But I realised I felt really tired, sort of overly hot, perhaps the strange weather, so instead all I have done is shove a shoulder of lamb into the oven with garlic and rosemary and veg. Open a bottle of cider ... and listen to Radio 4. But I did get home at 1.30 am last night and that was after consuming half a bottle of pink champagne so on the whole I'm holding up well!

day after

One of those blurry figures is me outside the Opening Night party of the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June. Soon after I had to rush over and try and explain that as it was an old school film camera it had to be wound on manually.
Yesterday was my birthday. I've not been wildly good about organising stuff for my birthday this year (mainly because I'm going on a long long overseas trip in two months so it feels that I'm well catered for it the fun department). But yesterday I had dinner and drinks with a friend - thank you C! and today I'm having breakfast out before work and on Monday I'm off for a little day trip to Glasgow.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I have a confession

You know how everybody has a compulsion? At least I think everyone does. Faced with one situation one person will light up a cigarette, always find the worst possible outcome, or cheerfully refuse to take responsiblilty.

Well my compulsion is when I talk to someone and find out that they have a dream is to make them make it happen. I know its up to them but really it kills me to see so many people not doing what will make them happy I ingnore the 'its up to them' bit and launch into helpful suggestion mode.

So back at my work-for-money job and talking across the desk find one other long term telephoneist desperate for a change with an empty nest and living an hour away from Edinburgh. I urge her to look into a council house swap to something closer. The bloke beside me I move onto and interrogate (especially since I'm mildy horrified that he's still here 5 months on from when I last was here). He eventually confesses that what he'd really like to be is a ..... taxidermist. A product of a childhood with a grannie who made blankets out of bunny fur amongst other things. Anyway he needs some kind of HND in Animal Anatomy to get full membership of the Guild of British Taxidermists and I'm immediately on the case. Scottish Agricultural College? Google it I encourage. It would not be impossible to mix a part time course and the job-for-money (the shift system is very flexible). Hummm its too late to think I'll change I'll just have to accept that this is part of my make up.

Collaging how to - update

! love using this with classes as its instanteous art, its a quick way for people to make their own visions, its always 'unique and original' (people are very hung up about 'being original') and is FUN!

1. Get a stash of magazines/brochures/catalogues/newspapers A variety of starting media is best. If doing in a group at least 1 1/2 to 2 times magazines per person.

2. Get a A3 or bigger base sheet - using the back of cheap wall paper is good. If not IMPROVISE! tear out magazine pages and tape into a backing sheet eg 3 x 5 magazine sheets make a large basis to work on. (This also results in more 'happy accidents' in the final collage.)

3. Give yourself a timelimit of 10-15 mins to flip quickly through the magazines. Each time you see an arresting image or word or headline tear it out and put in a pile. No sissors !* (If you see an article which you simply must read. Don't but tear it out so you can read it later - so you are not depriving yourself - creativity students have major deprivation issues).

4. Then give yourself 10-15 mins to paste down your images quickly onto the backing sheet. No sissors - if you want part of an image tear around it.* Use a glue stick as the least messy alternative. Again the quicker you do it with out over thinking the results the more interesting it will be.

5. When finished I like to play 'Private View' if I've been doing my collage in company and we go around admiring each one.

6. Contemplation - I find its best to put the collage up someplace you can see it near a desk or in a bedroom so you can look at it at leisure. They often have surprising insights into your current foibles, obsessions, and interests.

Some people encourage the use of collaging to make 'Treasure Maps' or 'Vision Boards' which are more like visiual shopping lists of loot that they want into their lives. 'Stuff' doesn't have that much impact on people's happiness - what I find more interesting is that 'states' or 'qualities' are called up by the collage. For example in the post below one collage has a great big pink finger up to the world - as the creator works in a difficult part of the voluntary sector where her important work is not properly funded its not surprising she chose this image. This does not of course mean that she's going to manifest a large pink finger to put up against those with funding but perhaps expressing her feelings will help to find other ways of working. Another student might make a collage with a riot of colour in it. Again literally speaking this might be more to do with wanting to live a more 'colourful life' rather than redecorating en mass. The meaning of the collage definately is something that emerges over contemplation.

*I've found it helpful to ban sissors as I've had people sit for 5 mins cutting out something 'perfectly'. Squishing perfectionism is one of the delightful by products of collaging.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

creative collages

These are collages produced during my Artist Way Graduate group earlier this year. I love that everyone is totally unique and meaningful to each participant, fun and quick to do ! Luckily I had a participant with a digital camera who was able to take a record of these collages.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

40 things one should know by 40

Off to the post office hopefully before it rains. In the meanwhile an interview with Keri Smith from Lab magazine.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ever wondered what I look like?

Hop over to 37 Days where you can find out !

Blogs of note

Musings from Stonehead a blog about crofting near Aberdeen and The Patchwork Dress via Starry Blue Sky. All Scottish based blogs.

A grey and gloomy day here has ben leavened by breakfast out. A lovely hour noodling over my morning pages and a bit of writing work I had to do then off to library to snaffle up detective fiction.