Archive for the ‘I love’ Category

There is so much loveliness out there, but often it’s just a matter of finding it. I found the lovely Julia Smith Ceramics, based in Inverness-shire in a rather old fashioned way; a friend gave me a sweet little spoon and a dish with a bird perched on its edge. I loved the melding of quite traditional glazes and colours with the fresh little illustrative decals that bring her pottery right up to date. Of course, those who know me know I’m no stranger to a bit of gloopy glazing on a deep brown 1970s mug, which I hunt down in charity shops and jumble sales avidly- but these feel so modern without losing that beautiful history of pot making.

I googled the maker and the next thing I knew was determindly entering my credit card details. I could easily –easily- have spent a good deal more, and I very much doubt Julia has written my address on one of her parcels for the last time.

She very kindly changed a drawing on one of her mugs for me, and Oli got a bowl for his birthday with a pointing dog on it in honour of our own pointer.

Pet themed presents are decidely cheesy, but this gorgeous bowl, with its rough black exterior and smooth interior, is anything but. Deepfired Studios also do some fantastic community work, which is also well worth a look. Check her Folksy shop out as well as her website, and enjoy!


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I went to see this film on Monday- the first time I’ve been to the cinema in a long, long time. Not since having children. And I went to see a film about children. Hmmm. A friend of mine had been alerted to the screening, which was at a local high school, by her child’s primary school, and a few of us went along. We were a solitary trio of mothers in an audience of educators, which was something of a pity as it’s one of those wee word of mouth films that should really be seen by everyone.

It’s a documentary by film maker David Bond, who was alarmed by how much time his two young children spent indoors and in front of screens. It was also spurred on by film-makers Green Lions and The National Trust, who were both exploring the idea of ‘nature deficit disorder’ in our children. In particular I loved the conversation David Bond had with one expert, who described how thousands upon thousands of Britons ‘see’ big wild cats in the countryside every year. Sad to say it, but there are no big cats. We would have found them by now, he explained: they poo, they have dens and scratch posts. Even the most elusive big cat in the world, the snow leopard, which lives in some of the most difficult and remote terrain, can be tracked. So why do we see big, wild, black, puma-like cats? Because, this guy believed, we lack the risk and challenge nature provides in our day to day lives. David was thrilled: he was trying to market a product so good people hallucinate about it!

David is not afraid to play the fool and did so to great effect. Think dressing up as a squirrel and trying to climb a tree. The film was very funny, and very slick- they pulled in a team of 60 ‘creatives’ who have fuelled the movement with some lovely graphics and ideas.

It had its drawbacks: there was a really dichotomous emphasis on technology=bad, nature=good. His thinking kids on the Scottish isle of Eigg would be living in some glorious, internet-free natural paradise was slightly naive, and there was no mention of inclement weather, or the crucial impact having decent clothing and boots makes to enjoying time outside.

At the film’s core, though, was the simple idea that children (and adults) just do not get outdoors enough. I can’t argue with that, and really admire David and his team’s vim and brio in bringing the problem to our attention. If you can get along to a screening, do!

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Ah, Gumtree. Source of great amusement (cries of who will buy that?! and, How much?!) and great local bargains, it can also lead to disappointment, which I experienced on Friday. But we got back on the Gumtree wagon the next day with the snapping up of this mid century Ercol-alike Danish coffee table for an absolute steal. Ok, so it was in Macduff (on the very tippy top of the Aberdeenshire coast), but we incorporated a visit to the aquarium and an award-winning fish and chip shop and it was, all in all, rather a nice day out! It won’t stay in this room, which is stuffed to the gunnels with furniture, books and the inexorable creep of toys, but in the -eventual- sitting room. Just once we get that unasked-for water feature sorted…

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I could create rather a lot of ‘I love’ posts at the moment- we are moving towards the much more exciting bit of DIY in the sitting room: the choosing of paint, light switches and the like. As my Pinterest ‘Home’ board will attest (I love Pinterest, and feel annoyed not to have thought of it first), money is no object in the perusal of home décor. Particularly lovely is this Harvest Hare wallpaper by Mark Herald. Sadly we’ve decided not to use ‘feature’ wallpaper as the room is so oddly shaped I think it’ll draw too much attention to its irregularities. Very happily, though, there is fabric available to buy in the same print…  beautiful.

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Not so long ago I took a stroll with my mother in law and Otis by the sea in Broughty Ferry, and spotted these beautiful window decorations. This is one of those impossibly tiny seaside fishermen’s cottages, built solidly to last years and years of stiff sea winds, with only a few small windows to peer out of, perhaps to gauge whether to put to stormy sea or throw another shovelful of coal on the fire instead. Called Barometer Cottage (the barometer is concealed within that tall stone and wood pillar-like object) it is now, my mother in law seemed to think, owned by a Swedish couple who have refurbished it and installed these rather beautiful papercuts in the window. What a lovely alternative to net curtains!

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I bought a large quantity of undyed grey wool recently from a lovely couple on the Applecross peninsula on the West coast of Scotland. I just love yarn like this-  the sheep are reared and (hand!) shorn by the couple and the fleeces spun into the nicest, springiest natural yarn you could imagine. It’s a from a special corner of Scotland (highly recommended for its award-winning seafood pub alone, never mind stunning landscapes, art and crafts, jaw-dropping beauty) and so begs for something special to be done with it. In my dreams, Jared Flood’s Grettir jumper would be ideal- an Icelandic-inspired design with a beautiful colourwork yoke. I need this jumper in my life- although I’d leave off the roll neck, as shown in the men’s sample. I think a bit more colourwork practise might be in order first though!

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If you are anywhere near Glasgow today then head along to South Frederick Street just off George Square to a one-off Sparrow and Co pop up shop! Sam is a dear friend of ours and he sells lovely homewares: cushions, rugs and candlesticks to mention just a few desirable items… only wish we could be there too. If you can’t make it, the online shop is always open here. Good luck Sam!

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